MERRICK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP)State Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. is stepping down after nearly 16 years in office.

The Nassau County Republican announced Tuesday that he is resigning at 11:59 p.m. to serve as the chief executive officer of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

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“This was a hard and bittersweet decision to reach,” Fuschillo said in a statement. “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. 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.”

Fuschillo said he is ready for a new career challenge.

“This is a new and exciting opportunity which 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,” the eight-term senator said.

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He added that he plans to remain “active in serving the community.”

A special election is expected to fill the remaining year of Fuschillo’s two-year term. He has been part of the Republican coalition with a handful of Democrats wielding majority control of the chamber.

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