Farley reflects on 40 years of service

PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER State Sen. Hugh Farley poses for a photo in the living room of his Niskayuna home Tuesday, May 3, 2016PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER State Sen. Hugh Farley poses for a photo in the living room of his Niskayuna home Tuesday, May 3, 2016

By Indiana Nash

ALBANY — State Sen. Hugh Farley spent Friday, his last day in office, packing up awards and other mementos from his 40-year career. They filled 14 boxes.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Farley said of his last day. For the state’s longest-serving senator, it will probably take a few weeks to adjust to retirement.

He recalled how, when he was first elected to office in 1976, he was overwhelmed during his first few days. There was a lot to learn and not a lot of time.

But he was proud of his education from American University and the University at Albany and said that’s really what helped him understand the inner workings of government and get as much accomplished as he did.

Farley is best known for helping to secure funds for public libraries, as well as for his work with the Aging Committee.

He passed the first piece of legislation concerning Hospice in New York State, which he cites as one of his proudest moments in government.

Farley is also on the task force on Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases and served on the heroin task force.

“It’s a poignant day,” he said of his final day. “Fortunately, all of my staff have been placed, and I’m looking forward to a new chapter.”

When he announced his retirement in May, he said he wanted to retire so he could spend more time with his family.

That’s the first thing he planned to do after Friday.

“I’ll be taking a trip with my wife [Sharon] down to Key West,” Farley said.

He’ll also spend more time with his children, Susan, Bobby and Peggy, and his grandchildren.

Farley will travel between his home in Niskayuna and various destinations in Florida for the next few months, he said.

“I’ll come back up to shovel some snow, as I’m sure it will be there,” he said.

But he will never be too far from the Senate.

“I’ll keep track of what’s going on with government. I don’t know if anyone will want my advice, but I’ll give it,” he said.

After he leaves, Farley said the Senate’s first day back will be different.

“We won’t have the State of the State (address) there, which will be different,” Farley said.

But on his last day, he was focused on packing up a lengthy career in public service and thanking those who have been of service to him.

For Jim Tedisco, who will take Farley’s post, and for any other incoming legislators, Farley had two pieces of advice: “Just be yourself, and do what you think is right, because that will always be more politically beneficial.”