Assemb. James Conte (R-Huntington Station) announced Monday that he will not seek re-election to the seat he’s held for 24 years so he can instead focus on winning his personal battle with cancer.
The 53-year-old said in a statement that he was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma last spring and this May, his doctors told him that the cancer had spread. His chemotherapy treatments at Mt. Sinai Hospital will continue in the coming weeks.
“While my health has improved over the last several days, I have realized that in order to fully recover, I must devote my full energies to regaining my strength and beating this disease,” Conte said. “After speaking at length with my family, I have decided not to run for re-election this November.”
Conte won his seat in a March 1988 special election. He represents the 10th Assembly District, which runs along the Nassau-Suffolk county line, eastward across half of Huntington township, down to the Babylon town line and up to Lloyd Neck.
The two-time kidney transplant recipient has helped pass several laws designed to increase organ and tissue donation during his time in Albany.
His announcement comes four days after New York State Sen. Owen Johnson, 83, declared he will not seek re-election after 40 years, setting off a competitive race to replace the senator in a chamber where the GOP has a slim majority.
Conte has fended off repeated Democratic challengers over the past two decades while rising up the ranks in the Assembly, where the GOP is in the minority.