State Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan says he'll miss the beginning of this year's Legislative session as he seeks help to overcome his battle with alcohol dependency.

He says it's a difficult choice, but one that's right for him and his family.

Flanagan has asked Senator Joseph Griffo to oversee the operations of the Republican conference and those of the incoming Minority.

Griffo now serves as Deputy Minority Leader and Flanagan say Griffo will ensure that Senate Republicans can proceed seamlessly and without interruption until his return.

Senator Griffo released the following statement following his appointment as Acting Minority Leader of the New York State Senate:

“I respect Minority Leader Flanagan’s decision to seek treatment for alcohol dependency and join with my colleagues in praying for his recovery.  Leader Flanagan has always been a selfless leader, putting his professional responsibilities, obligations and duties above his own needs and I applaud his courage in confronting this disease. It is now important for him to take the time to concentrate on his own well being and our conference supports him completely in that effort.
In Minority Leader Flanagan’s absence, I am honored to accept the responsibility of leading the state Senate’s Republican Conference on an interim basis. Together, with the exceptional group of talented and committed Senators and staff, we will stay unified in crafting, presenting and advocating our vision for moving our great state forward.”