ALBANY—As was expected since the first hours after Assemblyman Jim Tedisco indicated he would step down as the Assembly’s minority leader, Brian Kolb has been elected to replace him at the head of the Republican conference.
"I'm excited, I'm fired up," Kolb, a five-term representative of the Finger Lakes region, said at a press conference.
The vote to appoint him to the slot was unanimous, Republicans say.
Being minority leader of the Assembly is no easy job, given the wide 109-41 vote margin that Democrats hold over the chamber. Kolb was asked what he would do to reinvigorate the conference, which is loud but weak.
"I don't think we're the weakest conference, I think we're the strongest conference," Kolb said. "It's not so much about the number of members you have, but the quality of ideas you have at the table."
Unlike Tedisco, whose leadership style was bombastic and colorful, Kolb seems ready to take a more understated, strategic approach to the position. When asked if he would continue Tedisco's flair for the theatric, he said he would be a combination of several past leaders – including Tedisco, John Faso and Charles Nesbitt. He promised to keep in place the staff Tedisco had hired.
His installation means that he will be staying in Albany for a while. Kolb had been mentioned as a potential candidate to run against freshman representative Eric Massa, a Democrat from Corning.
"I think that Eric Massa, wherever he is right now, is breathing a sigh of relief," Kolb said, drawing a round of laughter.
Tedisco, who announced Friday he was formally stepping down, walked into the press conference before it started and talked to attorney Michael Cuevas about a court hearing this morning related to his run for Congress.
He did not speak at the event.