New York state Assemblywoman Janet Duprey announced her retirement Thursday morning after a 41-year political career, the last 10 in the Assembly.
The 115th Assembly District includes Clinton and Franklin counties and a part of eastern St. Lawrence County. It’s represented in New York’s Assembly by one person: Republican Janet Duprey. She has held the seat for 10 years. She intended to be on the ballot this November but on Thursday announced she would retire instead. “A few years ago I was diagnosed with glaucoma. I've had surgery and have continued to be treated on a regular basis. These past few months I’ve forced myself to come to grips with the fact that driving at night is becoming more difficult particularly in snow, rain and fog. I needed to think about whether I want to be a nighttime driver especially in Albany traffic two years from now. The answer became more clear to me as I forced these personal discussions. And the answer is no. Right now the glaucoma is somewhat stabilized. I don't know what the future holds. One thing I can say with certainty I will be here in the North Country. There is absolutely nowhere else I want to be. Today is the most difficult day I’ve faced in my 41 year political career. This decision has been a struggle for me. But I am at peace with it.”
Duprey added that to assure the selection of a candidate she had to make her decision now. “Waiting any longer is simply not an option. I will not allow my name to be placed on a petition without 100 percent commitment that I can serve for two more years. The process of selecting a qualified, dedicated candidate with high ethical standards who will represent us well can now take place. And I expect to be an integral part of the campaign. I believe I set the bar high. And I will work to elect the next assembly member who has the same passion and work ethic as I do.”
Duprey served 10 years as a Clinton County legislator and 21 years as the county treasurer before being elected to the Assembly. She noted there are a number of issues she wants to resolve before leaving at the end of the year although her top priority is defending corrections officers. Duprey says she is anxious to see the Inspector General issue a report on the Dannemora prison escape last year.
Duprey also said the investigations and culture of corruption surrounding the state capital did not factor into her decision to retire. “There are a lot of good people in Albany. I think that we’ll overcome this dark time. My biggest concern is that there won't be enough ethics reform quickly enough. Certainly the Assembly has passed some initial reform. We need to do more. But that's not one of the reasons I'm leaving. I think it's critically, critically important that whoever gets elected to this position the number one qualification should be a high ethical standard.”
Plattsburgh City Republican Party Chair Bruce Lawson called Duprey’s career remarkable. “She has displayed incredible energy and devotion to the job and jobs that she has had. I've seen her so many times at so many different events and functions. She's so tireless in her efforts. You know as for the political implications the dust will settle and we'll figure out what happens next.”
One Democrat, Franklin County Board of Legislators Chair D. Billy Jones, entered the race for the Assembly seat on March 22nd.