Rep. Vito Fossella won't seek re-electionPosted: Updated:
New York Rep. Vito Fossella said Tuesday hewill not seek re-election as a result of "personal mistakes," adecision that comes after a drunken driving arrest and disclosurethat he fathered a child in an extramarital affair. "This choice was an extremely difficult one, balanced betweenmy dedication to service to our great nation and the need toconcentrate on healing the wounds that I have caused to my wife andfamily," Fossella said in a statement on his House ofRepresentatives Web site. The 43-year-old Republican congressman has acknowledgedfathering a daughter with a Virginia woman, Laura Fay. The two metwhile she was an Air Force officer working with Congress. Herepresents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn. His secret relationship with the woman was revealed after he wasarrested for drunken driving on May 1. "Despite the personal mistakes I have made, I am touched by theoutpouring of support and encouragement I have received from somany people," Fossella said in the Web site statement. He saidthat while many people have urged him to run for re-election, "Ibelieve this course of action is best for my family and ourcommunity." Fossella has served in Congress since 1997, representing StatenIsland and part of Brooklyn. He is the only Republican member ofCongress from New York City. It was Fay who got him out of jail after the arrest. She is aformer Air Force lieutenant colonel and worked for a time as aliaison to Congress. After his arrest, police said Fossella's blood-alcohol level wastwice the legal limit, and he could face a mandatory five days injail if convicted. A court appearance on the drunken driving arrestis scheduled for next month. After the relationship was revealed, Fossella said he had noimmediate plans to resign, but the disclosures were considered bymany as a crippling blow to the career of a lawmaker once viewed apotential candidate for mayor of New York City. He faced a surprisingly tough re-election challenge in 2006, andDemocrats have been hoping to unseat him this year. After theadmissions, Fossella got little public support to remain fromleaders of his own party. Fossella was elected to Congress in 1997 in a special electionto replace Rep. Susan Molinari, who resigned. His sociallyconservative positions squared nicely with his largely Catholicdistrict. He serves as a member of the House Committee on Energyand Commerce. His work in Congress shifted dramatically following the Sept.11, 2001, terror attacks. Hundreds of Staten Island residents died in the attacks, andFossella became a prominent advocate for families of those killed. As more recovery and rescue workers got sick after toiling atthe ground zero site, Fossella pushed for Washington to pay fortheir health care - an effort that has met with short-term success,but no long-term program.
Fossella apologizes for DWI arrest