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NYS Senator Panepinto not seeking re-election

Posted at 5:28 PM, Mar 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-16 11:54:06-04

New York State Senator Marc Panepinto will not seek re-election.

The Democrat made the announcement during a news conference at his law offices on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo Tuesday evening.

"Due to reasons both personal and professional, I am not seeking re-election in the New York State Senate."

During the news conference, the lawmaker cited personal and professional reasons for his decision, adding the Senate could soon impose a ban on members earning an outside income.  He went on to say if that were to happen, he would not be prepared to give up his law firm.

"I have to put my family first and my law family ahead of the voters in the 60th district," Panepinto said.

Panepinto spoke of the need for the 60th State Senate District to remain in the hands of a Democrat, while adding he would help in the process of selecting a possible successor.

Marc Panepinto only took a few questions, and staffers quickly cut things off when the Senator was asked about personnel issues in his office.

According to an article in The Public, which quotes a source, "the Senate's Ethics Committee is concerned with allegations of repeated sexual harassment of a young staffer that went un-addressed."

Panepinto said he could not answer any questions concerning personnel issues, but was quick to re-iterate when asked that his office is not being investigated by the state ethics committee.

Panepinto won a contentious election for the 60th State Senate District in 2014 beating Republican incumbent Mark Grisanti.

Following Tuesday's announcement, Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner issued this statement:

"We regretfully accept Senator Panepinto's decision not to seek reelection in November. Under the given circumstances we agree it is the right choice, and certainly wish Marc well and thank him for his service to our community.

"The Erie County Democratic Committee will now move forward with a careful, inclusive nominating process in order to select the strongest possible candidate to represent the 60th Senate District at a time of great challenges and opportunities for our region and our state.

"Those interested in receiving our endorsement should contact Democratic headquarters as soon as possible."

We spoke with Chairman Zellner via phone after the announcement Tuesday night.

"Someone doesn't just step away from their senate seat without good reason," Zellner said. "He gave the reason that he wants to spend more time as a partner in his law firm, wants to spend more time with family, I don't know if there's anything else."