Fossella Will Not Seek Re-Election
05/20/2008 08:41 AM
After two weeks of wrestling over his political future, Staten Island Congressman Vito Fossella said Tuesday morning that he is making his exit from the New York congressional delegation.
Sources tell NY1
Republican Party leaders will meet this week to discuss possible candidates for his seat
Fossella said he will serve out his term, which expires in January.
In a statement on his website, Fossella said: "This choice was an extremely difficult one, balanced between my dedication to service to our great nation and the need to concentrate on healing the wounds that I have caused to my wife and family."
He also thanked his constituents for their support and called his time in Congress the most rewarding professional experience of his life.
Staten Island politicians expressed their support for Fossella during this time.
"How do you get your kids, when they're 12 and 13 years old, do you want to give up those years of not going to their ballgames, their soccer games?" asked Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro. "You have to make a decision, and I respect whatever decision he made."
"There's a part of Vito who probably relishes this challenge that this election would be," said City Councilman James Oddo. "I think a bigger part of him said, all I want is happiness, and he's now going to have a chance to pursue happiness, to heal himself, to heal his family."
The five-term congressman was arrested in Virginia earlier this month on drunk driving charges. That arrest began a chain of events leading to Fossella's admission that he has a three-year-old daughter from an extra-marital affair.
The 43-year-old also has three children with his wife.
He is due back in court on the drunk driving charges next month.
Voters NY1 spoke with near Fossella's Eltingville, Staten Island office expressed mixed opinions over the congressman's decision.
"I wish he'd run," said one Staten Islander. "I thought he was good for Staten Island."
"I think he's doing the right thing," countered another. "He needs to get his personal life in order first, before he can think of doing anything politically."
"He should have quit in the first place," said a third. "He's shown that the people cannot trust him."
An announcement for the fall's Republican candidate could come next week.
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