In a New Year’s Eve surprise, State Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr., a popular Republican from Merrick, announced that he would step down at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31 to become chief executive officer of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
Fuschillo, 53, a 16-year member of the Senate who is best known for his work in toughening the state’s DWI statutes, including the law that set the legal blood alcohol content limit at .08 percent, said his decision to leave office was “hard and bittersweet.”
The announcement came suddenly, in a news release in the middle of the day on Tuesday. Fuschillo could not be reached for further comment.
“The almost 16 years I have spent serving the residents of the 8th Senate District were some of the most rewarding and enjoyable of my life,” Fuschillo said in a prepared statement. “There were many great accomplishments. Over 200 state laws authored, including New York state’s landmark Do Not Call Registry, the Clean Indoor Air Law, stronger penalties for drunk drivers and protections for individuals with autism, are just some of the many things we can look back on with pride.
“I am also incredibly proud,” he continued, “that we have been able to help countless residents with problems as major as recovering from the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy to everyday, quality-of-life issues.
Fuschillo said that he is “at a point in my life where I am ready for a new challenge.” He described his position as CEO of the Alzheimer’s Foundation as “a new and exciting opportunity” that “will allow me to continue to help improve the lives of others while, at the same time, enabling me to spend more time with my family.”
Fuschillo said he would remain active in community affairs, and he thanked the Bellmore-Merrick community for its support over the years.