The following statement has been released by New York State Sentaor John Bonacic:
“I have decided that I will not seek re-election to the New York State Senate. Next to being called Pat’s husband and Melissa and Scott’s father and a grandfather to three more, serving in the State Senate has been the honor of my life.
The 20 years I have spent in the Senate have been rewarding both personally and professionally, despite the frustrations that all of us experience in any career. Twenty years, though, is enough, and I look forward to spending quality time with my bride, Pat, and my children and grandchildren.
They have collectively been my rock and my inspiration. Having served in elected office as a County Legislator, as Chairman of the Orange County Legislature, as an Assemblyman, and now in the Senate for more than four decades, I know that public service is a great privilege. I am a lucky person.
I want to thank many people for the opportunity to serve, and am so grateful to them. The fact that someone who grew up in the most urban area of the nation – Hell’s Kitchen – could be welcomed into dairy barns in Delhi, and small businesses in Monticello, and mix with today’s college students at New Paltz, while returning home at night to Orange County and being welcomed there also, is something that is a testament to the people of the 42nd Senate District.
As the grandson of immigrants, I could never have imagined that one day I would help approve the Judges of the State’s highest Court as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, or work side by side with Governors on issues critical to the people of our community – healthcare, flood control and of course, job creation. It has been the privilege of many lifetimes, not just one.
I also want to take a moment to thank my staff and all the staff who work for the Senate. Together they made me a better Senator than I could have been on my own. They have come from different backgrounds and different locations, but had one thing in common – a desire to help solve problems. We learned of problems together, and did our best to solve them together, and their efforts helped me produce results.
I also want to take a moment to reflect on what I consider some of my proudest accomplishments. My first year in the Senate, I sponsored the Women’s Health and Wellness Act. That was groundbreaking legislation at the time that expanded healthcare services for women. Working closely with Governor Pataki, we saved the Ellenville Hospital, which nearly went under. We went on to create agreements to keep hospitals open in rural communities, such as Margaretville and Sidney, and worked to develop the relationship between Catskill Regional and Orange Regional Hospital.
Partnering with Governor Cuomo we finally brought casino gaming to Sullivan County. That is something that had been fought for decades and now it is creating jobs and raising property values. Standing up sometimes to New York City, and sometimes working with New York City to reduce upstate flooding, helped families who live in flood prone areas be bought out, thus ending their nightmare of flooded homes.
As Chairman of the Senate Housing committee, I secured funding for the development of the New York Main Street Program and I was proud to work to bring our share – perhaps more than our share – of housing money for low income seniors and families in need. If you do not have quality housing, not much else matters to you.
I end, though, where I started – at home tonight with my bride of more than 51 years, grateful to the people across Delaware, Greene, Sullivan, Ulster, and of course Orange Counties for the chance to serve and looking forward to life’s next chapter. Thank you.”