ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State Sen. Rich Funke (R-55) is not running for reelection in 2020.
The Republican made the announcement in a video posted on YouTube Monday night.
Funke has served for the 55th District since he was elected in 2014.
Last week, Republican State Sen. Joe Robach (R-56) also announced he would not be running for reelection.
Other Republican representatives throughout New York in the state legislature have also announced they too would not be seeking reelection.
Funke said it’s time to clear the field for someone else.
“I think some people will look at my position and say, ‘Well he’s bailing out because the Democrats control the Senate now,’ and stuff like that. People make their decisions for all different reasons,” said Funke.
New York State GOP chair Nick Langworthy said the end of the year is a normal time for legislators to think about whether or not they’ll seek another term.
“As you look towards what’s happened here in the capital you have members that are used to being in a majority party and are used to driving the policy discussion, I mean they know in a 40-23 situation that they’re not gonna have many bills that are passed into law this year,” said Langworthy.
Even though Funke said political climate isn’t why he’s leaving, he did echo Robach’s sentiments, which we heard last week.
“We certainly are frustrated over what’s happened in the past legislative session and that all plays into it and your inability to be a majority member and your inability to get legislation to the floor, to get passed, to be listened to, even be able to debate a bill effectively,” Funke said.
News 8 asked Funke if there are any plans for who will be taking over his seat. He didn’t give any names but said a couple of people have reached out. He said he’ll be happy to talk to anyone about what the job entails.
As of now, five other state senators are stepping aside. Those include two others from Western New York, Michael Ranzenhofer of the 61st District and Chris Jacobs of the 60th District who will be running for Chris Collins’ seat in the 27th Congressional District.
The 55th State Senate District that Funke represents encompasses parts of Monroe and Ontario County.
Funke currently serves as the ranking member in the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks & Recreation, as well as Civil Service and Pensions, in addition to serving on the Committees on Energy and Telecommunications, on Labor, and on Cities.
Before turning to civil service, Funke worked as a news broadcaster for News10NBC in Rochester for more than 40 years until his retirement in late 2012.