Senator John Flanagan announces retirement and joins growing list of retiring GOP lawmakers

Photo courtesy of The New York State Senate
Senator John J. Flanagan, R-East Northport, announced his retirement last week.

After almost 34 years serving public office, New York Senator John J. Flanagan, R- East Northport, announced his retirement from the Legislature last Wednesday, as he will not be going up for re-election this upcoming 2020 election cycle. 

“The opportunity to serve the public for virtually all of my adult life has enriched every aspect of my life,” said Flanagan, “ So it is with a heavy but extremely proud heart that I announce today that I will not be seeking re-election to the New York State Senate.” 

Flanagan represents the 2nd Senate District of New York which covers parts of Suffolk County Long Island. He was first elected to the state Senate in 2002 and prior to that served eight terms in the state Assembly. Flanagan’s father, John Flanagan, also served in the Assembly from 1972 to 1986.

As the current Republican Conference Leader, Flanagan stated that he will continue his work in the Conference through the end of the legislative session and finishing out his term.

This announcement comes in the midst of New York’s budget deadline and the COVID-19 outbreak, which is hitting New York the hardest with over 75,000 cases as of March 31.

“Our great State is clearly in a time of crisis and now more than ever we need leaders to guide our public policy as true representatives of our taxpayers and constituents,” Flanagan said in his departure statement.

Flanagan recognizes his decision to leave the Senate comes at a challenging time for New Yorkers, but he believes its purpose was to offer transparency before election season. 

The New York Senate and Assembly primaries are consolidated with the presidential primary this year on June 23.

“I fully intend to apply the same diligence and work ethic as the Leader of our Republican Conference as I have since I was first elected Leader in 2015,” said Flanagan.“ We have recruited top-tier candidates in races all across the State, and ensured our Conference has the right messaging to succeed.”

The list of Republican lawmakers announcing their retirement from the New York State Legislature is growing. Flanagan follows several other GOP members who have announced their retirements in the past year, such as Senators George A. Amedore Jr., R-Rotterdam, Betty Little, R- Queensbury, and Michael Ranzenhofer, R- Amherst.

The Republican Party currently holds 22 of the 63 seats in the Senate with one vacant seat open from former Senator Robert Antonacci II, R- Syracuse, who now serves on the state Supreme Court.

During his time in office Flanagan also served as Senate Majority leader from May 2015 through 2018. He accredits his experiences in that position to be at the center of all his current work in the Republican Conference and the Senate.

Flanagan’s primary efforts in the Senate have aimed to provide tax relief to New Yorkers through a property tax cap, cutting personal income taxes and repealing the MTA payroll tax.

“John Flanagan has been a dedicated public servant for more than thirty years, as an assemblyman, senator, and senate leader,” said State Chairman of the Conservative Party, Gerard Kassar. “The New York State Conservative Party thanks Senator Flanagan for his long service, and wishes him the best in all future endeavors.”

As prior Chairman of the Committee on Education, Flanagan has also fought for budget reform to ensure adequate state aid for New York schools.