A Republican state senator from Long Island abruptly announced his resignation today, leaving open a critical seat for the upcoming legislative session and for next year’s elections.
“Tomorrow, we begin a new year which brings with it new beginnings, new opportunities, and new challenges,” said Fuschillo, who heads the Senate Transportation Committee, in a statement. “With that in mind, I have decided that it is time to begin a new chapter in my life and leave the New York State Senate effective 11:59 pm tonight.”
Fuschillo is well respected and one of the nine powerful Senate Republicans from Long Island. Republicans claimed all the Senate seats on Long Island in the 2012 elections, but still only have 30 members—two short of a majority.
But Republicans have power in the Senate through a coalition with the four-member Independent Democratic Conference.
Fuschillo’s seat will likely be kept open through the year, unless Gov. Andrew Cuomo changes course and decides to hold a special election for the now eight empty seats in the Legislature. He hasn’t indicated plans to do so.
And Fuschillo’s seat will likely be a battleground for Democrats and Republicans—when all 63 seats in the chamber are up for election.
He’s the second Long Island senator to look elsewhere. Sen. Lee Zeldin, R-Suffolk County, is running for Congress next year.
“This was a hard and bittersweet decision to reach. The almost 16 years I have spent serving the residents of the 8th Senate District were some of the most rewarding and enjoyable of my life,” Fuschillo said, saying he authored more than 200 laws.
But Fuschillo added that, “I am at a point in my life where I am ready for a new challenge.”
Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, praised Fuschillo’s work.
“Chuck is a good friend and colleague and he will be missed. Sometimes in life, we are presented with opportunities that are simply too good to pass up,” Skelos said in a statement. “This was one of those moments. I wish Chuck and his family the very best as he begins a new chapter of his life. ”