Syracuse-area Republican Will Barclay to Lead Assembly GOP Minority

Jan 7, 2020

Assemblymember Will Barclay will now lead his party in the chamber.
Credit Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

The minority party republicans in the state Assembly have a new leader. Will Barclay, from the Syracuse area, replaces Brian Kolb, who resigned after being charged with drunk driving on New Year’s Eve.

GOP members, who hold less than one third of the total seats in the Assembly, spent less than an hour in a closed door meeting to elect Barclay as their new leader. The 51 year old attorney, who comes from a prominent Syracuse family, followed his father Douglas’s footsteps into state elected office in 2002. Douglas Barclay was a State Senator for 20 years before being named by former President George W Bush as ambassador to El Salvador.

Barclay says New York faces a lot of problems, including  dissatisfaction by some over the state’s new bail reform laws, that end most forms of cash bail. Barclay says it needs to fixed.

I would prefer to put a bill in and stop it for year, but obviously we are open to amending it in any way,” said Barclay. “We also have millions of people leaving New York State, we have a $6 billion dollar shortfall. So we have huge issues facing New York.”

The police report released Tuesday shows the former Assembly Republican leader   had a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit , and that Kolb told the tow truck driver that  his wife was driving, saying, “you know how women drive.”

Barclay says he is “saddened and disappointed” by predecessor Brian Kolb’s actions.

“I think it’s unfortunate,” said Barclay. “He’s going through some very tough times.”

He says Kolb did the right thing, though, by putting the assembly republican conference first, and resigning his leadership post. Kolb did not attend the meeting.