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What's next for Canestrari, candidates?

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Albany/HV: What's next for Canestrari, candidates?
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Another Capital Region political veteran calls it a career. Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election. Our Solomon Syed has more on what Canestrari called a tough decision and who may emerge to run for his soon-to-be vacant seat.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A political career that started back in 1976 as the Mayor of Cohoes will come to an end this year as Ron Canestrari announced he will not run for re-election, completing a run of 24 years in the State Assembly, the last five as the chamber's majority leader.

"Cutting through the bureaucracy, trying to get results for people, I'll miss all of that," said Canestrari at a press conference at his office.

Privately, the move shocked some Albany Democrats. Canestrari had already accepted the party's nomination for November's election. He now looks forward to doing more of what he hasn't had a chance to, at least uninterrupted: Travel.

"One time in Rome, the Speaker called me and said 'You've got to come back, we're having a special session.' It was great to talk to him, but..." joked Canestrari.

The Cohoes native now becomes the third prominent Capital Region Democrat to step aside this year, joining long-time Assembly colleagues Bob Reilly and Jack McEneny.

"It's time for us to move on," McEneny said, following Canestrari's announcement. "We had our front row seats, we had our opportunity to make our mark."

Talk of retirement now shifts to one of new beginnings and who might fill these three soon-to-be vacant seats. Especially Canestrari's, who, after all, is the Assembly majority leader.

"I think there will probably be an embarrassment of riches in the number of candidates," said McEneny.

Sources say Albany Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin and council member Lester Freeman could show interest. Former Albany mayoral candidate Core Ellis is also a possibility, as well current Cohoes Mayor John McDonald and Albany County Legislator Shawn Morse.

Yet another name emerged Tuesday: Family Planning Advocates President and CEO Tracey Brooks. Though she would have to change her Colonie address to qualify for the seat.

That's a half-dozen names on the Democrat's side alone. Either way, they'll have some big shoes to fill.

"There's a time to run and a time to walk," said Canestrari. "For me, it's time to walk."

The Albany County Democratic Committee tells YNN they expect to conduct candidate interviews within the next few weeks, wrapping up by April 28th at the latest.

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