By Cady Kuzmich
CLIFTON PARK — “The toughest thing I’ll have to do is follow a living legend,” Assemblyman James Tedisco said at a Clifton Park Town Board meeting Dec. 12, speaking to the lofty task of succeeding state Sen. Hugh Farley.
Farley, R-Niskayuna, who represents the 49th Senate District, earlier this year announced his decision to retire after 40 years in office. Sharon, his wife of 57 years, has been experiencing health issues related to atrial fibrillation and respiratory problems. Farley plans to devote more time to her, their three daughters and their grandchildren.
“I’m looking forward to a new way of life,” said Farley.
Born in Watertown, Farley grew up in Indian Lake and studied at Mohawk Valley Community College and the University of Albany. He went on to earn a Juris doctor degree from the American University School of Law in the nation’s capital.
Farley was recognized by Tom Styles, a community member in attendance at Monday’s meeting, for his service with the U.S. Army. “Not only did he serve our town but he served our nation,” said Styles.
Upon returning to the States, Farley taught high school in Syracuse and Maryland before being appointed to the faculty of University of Albany’s School of Business.
Farley was first elected to public office in 1970 as a member of the Niskayuna Town Board, where he later served as its majority leader. He joined the Senate six years later and has been re-elected every two years since.
Some of Farley’s most notable achievements include authoring the nation’s first hospice law and a law that created a respite care program for the elderly.
He also authored a law that eliminated state income tax on the first $20,000 of pensions.
As chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, he bolstered New York state’s Superfund Program and sponsored the 1986 Environmental Quality Bond Act, which allocated $1.45 billion to be used for various measures to benefit the environment.
“If you go to the library and look up ‘public servant,’ you’d see a photo of Farley,” said Tedisco. “He will be missed. He’s a man for all seasons.”
By Cady Kuzmich