After Assemblyman Brian Kolb resigned as minority leader, following a particularly embarrassing drunk driving arrest on New Year’s Eve, it became apparent that the New York GOP was leaning toward selecting upstate Assemblyman William Barclay, age 51, to Kolb’s old post. And now, it’s official.
The new Assembly minority leader is a nine-term legislator, who was named deputy minority leader in 2012 and served in that role in 2018. But that’s not all there is to this upstate lawmaker.
Here are a few fast facts about Barclay, to help you get better acquainted with the new Assembly minority leader:
He is a ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee
Barclay currently serves as the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, which is responsible for all business that pertains to the state budget.
His father is also a politician
Hugh Doug Barclay, the assemblyman’s father, was a state senator in New York for 20 years and chaired the GOP conference in the state Senate. During President George W. Bush’s administration he served as U.S. ambassador to El Salvador.
Now, at 88, the senior Barclay is still working at Syracuse’s oldest law firm, Barclay Damon.
He lives way, way upstate
Roughly halfway between Syracuse and Watertown lies Pulaski, a small village in Oswego County, where Barclay currently lives. The Salmon River runs through the village, making it a prime fishing destination. And its close proximity to Lake Ontario attracts a number of tourists.
Like Kolb, he too drives a state-issued SUV
Barclay drives a 2015 Chevrolet Traverse, provided by the state. Interestingly, more Republicans are issued cars than Democrats in the state Assembly. Some might interpret Barclay’s state-issued vehicle as a continuation of the same insider crew when it comes to Republican leadership in the Assembly.
Hopefully, the new minority leader doesn’t make the same mistake as Kolb and use the vehicle for non-government business that results in a DWI.
He has high outside earnings
Barclay, who is a partner in his own law firm, as well as a director at Pathfinder Bank and Countryway Insurance, makes between $96,000 and $155,000 annually in addition to his government pay. His high earnings place him amongst the top five highest outside earners in the state Assembly.
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