Hugh T. Farley

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Hugh T. Farley (born November 26, 1932) is an American lawyer, schoolteacher, professor and politician from Schenectady County, New York.

Early life[edit]

Prior to his service in the New York State Legislature, Hugh Farley served in the United States Army during the Korean War, and was a high school teacher in Syracuse, New York and Maryland. Prior to attending college, he also worked as a lineman for the New York Central Railroad.

In 1965, he became a member of the faculty at the School of Business of the University of Albany, and since 2000, has been Professor Emeritus of Business Law at the college.

Hugh Farley holds a Juris Doctorate from American University School of Law, as well as a Bachelor of Science from the University of Albany. He is also a graduate of Mohawk Valley Community College.

Growing up in New York City, Indian Lake, New York, and Watertown, New York, Hugh Farley was the fifth of six boys, born to Edward and Laura Farley (John, Robert, Richard, Albert, Hugh and Paul). Hugh Farley's oldest brother John, was a teacher and lives in Colonie, New York, while his older brother Robert, who was a guidance counselor, lives in Sarasota, Florida.

Growing up in a large, Irish-Catholic family, Hugh Farley was an active young man, working as a paperboy, farm hand and mechanic, and excelling in such sports activities as boxing, basketball, baseball and tennis.


Senator Farley represents District 49 in the New York State Senate, which comprises parts of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties, and Herkimer, Hamilton, and Counties. He currently serves in leadership, as a member on the State Senate Majority Conference, and is its longest serving member, with the most seniority in the State Senate.

In 1979, Senator Farley was chosen as the first Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Aging. As chairman, Hugh Farley authored laws creating New York's hospice care system and a law prohibiting mandatory medical intervention/treatment for terminally ill patients.

In 1985 he was named as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environmental Conservation, a position in which he sponsored the 1986 Environmental Quality Bond Act, which disbursed $1.45 billion for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites. Due to his work as Chairman he was named Legislator of the Year in 1986 by the New York State Conservation Council.

In 1989, Senator Farley was appointed to the Chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Banks. In this capacity, he has authored or sponsored numerous laws dealing with banking regulations, including a law enacted in 1994 aimed at making New York's interest rate deregulation laws permanent. In addition to this, he is also responsible for sponsoring New York's interstate branching laws, and authoring the law that in 1996 finally allowed New York banks to branch into other states. One year later he would sponsor the law that allows New York's Banking Board to grant state-chartered banks the same powers as banks chartered by the federal government.

Senator Farley has been a member of the Governor's Commission on Libraries, and an elected delegate to the White House's Conference on Libraries in both 1979 and 1991. He is also Chair of the State Senate's Select Committee on Libraries, and in that role he has become known as a national leader and advocate for libraries and reading programs.

He is presently also a member of the Executive Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures and a member of the Governing Board of the Council of State Governments. He has additionally served as past President of the National Republican Legislators Association, which bestowed upon him the award "Legislator of the Year" in 1989.

Senator Farley voted against same-sex marriage legislation on December 2, 2009; and the bill was defeated.[1] After announcing his intention to vote against a same-sex marriage bill before the Senate, his opponent in the 2010 election, Democrat Susan Savage, denounced Farley's position at a rally on the steps of the New York State Capitol.[2] Despite her repeated attacks, Farley defeated Savage in a landslide, and was again re-elected with one of the largest pluralities in the state.[3] In 2011, the New York State Legislature enacted a law legalizing same-sex marriage, with Senator Farley again voting no, citing that most of his constituents had expressed opposition to the measure.

In 2013, Senator Farley was a vocal opponent, and voted against, the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, which imposes some of the strictest limitations on gun rights in the nation. Representing a district, with large portions of the Adirondack Mountains, his district is home to many areas for hunting and sports enthusiasts, and with its rural character, often finds constituents many miles from police or public safety services. A strong supporter of law enforcement, Senator Farley was the lead sponsor of the initiative that created the Zone 5 Law Enforcement Training Center, which serves the Counties of Schenectady, Albany, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schoharie, Warren and Washington.[4]

Known for his expertise in the areas of Banking and State Finance, Senator Farley has repeatedly chaired one of the most important Budget Committees (General Government), and has been an advocate for fiscal responsibility, tax reductions, and support for small business. A strong supporter of state initiatives such as the SUNY's Nanotech College and Global Crossings, he was honored by the National Federation ofIndependent Business for his efforts to improve business, jobs and the economy in New York.[5]

Genuinely liked and respected by his colleagues, Senator Farley is known for his principled and pragmatic views, and gentlemanly and congenial demeanor. He has also earned a reputation for boundless energy, driving his little Toyota Corolla, all over his geographically large district, in order to regularly meet with constituents and their organizations.

In 2014, Senator Farley was re-elected to a 15th term, by a large plurality.[6]

Personal life[edit]

His son Robert, was elected five times (1993, 1997, 1999, 2003 and 2007) as a member of the Schenectady County Legislature, serving both as Chairman and Minority Leader of that body. A lawyer like his father, he has worked in private practice, as New York State Deputy Attorney General, and as a Senior Counsel to the Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.[7]


External links[edit]

New York State Senate
Preceded by
Fred Isabella
New York State Senate
44th District

Succeeded by
Neil Breslin
Preceded by
David J. Valesky
New York State Senate
49th District