After almost a quarter of a century of service in the New York State Assembly, Assemblyman Marc W. Butler (R-Newport) announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in the 2018 election cycle.
Butler said he will continue to serve in the Assembly until the conclusion of this term, which comes on Dec. 31, 2018.
The 118th Assembly District includes the northern portion of Herkimer County, Fulton County, Hamilton County, nine townships in St. Lawrence County, and several townships in Oneida County.
“I realize this is early for such an announcement, but I am doing it at this time for a few reasons,” Butler said. “First, a number of highly-qualified potential candidates have given me the courtesy of avoiding a divisive primary over the past few terms with the provision that I will provide adequate time for them to prepare campaigns when I decide to retire.
“To their credit, they have kept their word, and I intend to keep mine so this change can be done in an orderly manner,” he continued. “This is a huge district and the candidates will need time to familiarize themselves with the territory and the people whom they need to meet. Equally important, I believe this will give members of my staff who have been very loyal to me the opportunity to make decisions on their future plans without a pressing time element.”
Butler was first elected to the Assembly in 1995, succeeding Anthony Casale, who was appointed by Gov. George Pataki to head the New York State Liquor Authority. Prior to being elected to the Assembly, he served five years in the Herkimer County Legislature, where he became majority leader, and five years as a village trustee in his hometown Village of Newport.
Butler has served on various committee assignments in the Assembly and was named Ranking Republican on the Committee on Standing Committees, a leadership position that has oversight of the operations of the Assembly’s various committees. He also serves as vice chair of the Herkimer County Republican Committee.
Prior to being elected to the Assembly, he worked as a reporter for the Utica Daily Press/Observer Dispatch and later in the Corporate Communications Department at Utica National Insurance in New Hartford.
“It has been a tremendous experience and a great honor to serve in the State Assembly. But throughout my entire working career I’ve had some wonderful opportunities,” Butler said. “I was fortunate, really, to have three exciting and interesting careers. Not many people can say that.
“So many people helped me and mentored me along the way. That’s what I hope to do … be able to use my experience and background to provide some insights for some of the younger people in the community who are interested in careers in public service,” he said.
Butler said the demands of the job are difficult on family life, and he thanked his wife, Susan, for her efforts at home while he is in session in Albany and on the road.
During his time in office, based on fundamental constitutional principles and partly in deference to Remington Arms, one of the region’s largest employers, Butler has been a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and gun owners’ rights. He has sponsored several bills that would modify or repeal the SAFE Act.
Last year, he developed and submitted a bill that received statewide attention that would have repealed major portions of the SAFE Act in upstate New York and allowed it to remain in place within New York City.
“I really see that legislation as a starting point in considering other types of legislation that would apply differently to upstate and downstate. In many ways, we are two different worlds, so why shouldn’t the way we govern our state acknowledge and respect that difference,” he said.