Longtime Flatbush Lawmaker to Retire After 36 Years

NEW YORK -

New York State Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, who represented her Flatbush district for the past 36 years, announced Sunday that she will retire at the end of the year, but didn’t specify her reasons.

“Serving in an institution dedicated to preserving and expanding our rights as human beings has been an awesome and yet humbling experience I shall never forget,” she said in a written statement.

The Democrat’s 42nd District includes the Flatbush, Ditmas Park and Midwood neighborhoods. There have been rumors of her retirement the past few years, but she has always quashed them, running for reelection.

Among the candidates running to replace Jacobs, 77, is Rodneyse Bichotte, a Democratic district leader who unsuccessfully challenged Jacobs in 2012. His stronger than expected campaign is believed to be the reason for Jacobs’s retirement.

Bichotte, who has Haitian background, would be strongly favored in the district which today is about 2/3 African-American. When Jacobs first ran in 1972, it was heavily white.

Jacobs’s announced retirement comes three weeks after another longtime Democratic assemblyman, Harvey Weisenberg of Long Island, said he will not run for reelection after 25 years in office.

In related news, Republican Sen. Greg Ball, a conservative from Patterson, said Friday he will honor a term limit pledge and will return to the private sector when his term is up at the end of the year. The 36-year-old Ball won his Senate seat in 2010. An Air Force veteran, Ball cited his legislative work to aid domestic violence and human-trafficking victims and to help disabled veterans win government contracts.