Former Rochester news and sports anchor Rich Funke is considering a run for the New York State Senate as a Republican.  Funke, a 40 year broadcast veteran, told Time Warner Cable News Reporter Cristina Domingues he feels compelled to at least think about it.

“I’m concerned about the direction of New York State.  I’ve made public service a priority my entire life.  I see public office as an extension of public service,” said Funke.

Funke, who retired from WHEC-TV in 2012, confirmed he’s been contacted by Monroe County GOP Chairman, Bill Reilich about a possible run for the 55th Senate Seat.  That seat was held by longtime Republican Senator Jim Alesi, until Democrat Ted O’Brien took over the seat last year.

“He’s (Funke) a trusted news anchor who’s also been involved with many charitable organizations and done a lot for this community.  Ultimately it will be his decision if he wants to run,” Reilch said.

The Monroe County Republican Committee will start the nomination process in March, so Funke has until then to decide.  Reilich said he’d certainly be pleased if Funke decides to run.

“He’s given a lot.  I think he has a lot more to offer,” Funke added.

In a statement, Ted O’Brien’s spokesman, Thomas Morrisey, said the Senator is confident he will be re-elected:

“On the strength of his record of delivering tax relief to middle-class families and small businesses, securing investments to create jobs in our community, and fighting to clean up Albany and give New Yorkers the government they deserve. While others can worry about the politics of the day, Senator O’Brien remains focused on serving the hardworking men and women of Monroe and Ontario Counties and will continue working tirelessly to improve their lives.”

Funke, now in his 60’s, lives in Perinton with his wife.  He said he expects to make a decision within the next couple of weeks.

“I’m certainly not a career politician.  I’ve had the opportunity to meet people throughout our five-county region over the past 40 years.  Reporting on the issues both good and bad that affect them is one thing, the prospect of being able to actually do something about it and bring about positive change for them is exciting,” Funke added.

The 55th District includes the town’s Irondequoit, Penfield, Perinton, and Rush in Monroe County as well as Naples, Honeoye, Bloomfield, and Bristol in Ontario County.