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Bennett withdrawing from Regents election

WBFO News file photo

Robert Bennett is stepping down the New York State Board of Regents member.  Bennett confirmed to WBFO News Sunday that he would be withdrawing his name for re-election. The New York State Legislature is expected to vote Tuesday on members.

State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is expected to recommend the selection of Catherine Fisher Collins.  Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes has nominated Collins. 

Bennett tells WBFO’s Mike Desmond he was notified by Assemblyman Robin Schimminger about the nomination of Collins, and decided to step aside and withdraw his name.


"Unless something major changes between now and Tuesday, we were told through Robin Schimminger that Catherine Collins' name will be submitted for consideration on Tuesday and when the Assembly and Senate are together, the Speaker basically controls the election," said Bennett in a WBFO News interview Sunday night.

But Bennett said he will stay involved.

"I'm not going to be disengaged that much from the issues in Western New York. I will miss my colleagues on the board and I will miss that great staff in State Ed, sure I will. But, I'll get to see them every now and then, anyway. Cause the Chancellor said that she will find a way to keep me involved in some of the task forces. So, that's very kind of her to do that," said Bennett. 

The State Constitution specifies the Senate and Assembly meet together and by majority vote choose the Regents. With lop-sided Democratic control of the Assembly, that means the Speaker chooses.

Collins is a nurse-practitioner, author, college professor and former member of the Buffalo school board.

Bennett has served more than 20-years with the Regents.   He served as Regents Chancellor from 2002 to 2009. He stepped down as Chancellor in April of 2009 and continued to serve representing Western New York.  Bennett was appointed as Chancellor Emeritus.

Credit Eileen Koteras-Elibol
Regents Robert Bennett

WBFO News will have reaction from Bennett Monday on Morning Edition.