Dennis F. Virtuoso, Niagara County's longest-serving current legislator, announced Wednesday – "with a heavy heart" – that he won't run for re-election this year.
Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls, said in a Facebook post that a "serious illness" prevents him from running for his 16th term. He will complete his 30th year in the County Legislature on Dec. 31.
"This was difficult because I was not ready to retire, but I was recently diagnosed with a serious illness that would make it very difficult to run a campaign," he wrote.
"I love the job. I love helping people," he said in an interview.
Virtuoso, 68, has been minority leader since 2004, when the Republicans took control of the Legislature, which they have held ever since. He served some time as majority leader during periods of Democratic control in the 1990s and the early 2000s.
In 2014, he retired from Niagara Falls City Hall after 30 years. He was director of code enforcement and chief building inspector.