Rich Funke

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Rich Funke
RichFunkeLaborDayParade2014 (cropped).JPG
In the 2014 Labor Day parade in Rochester, New York
Member of the New York Senate
from the 55th district
Assumed office
January 1, 2015
Preceded byTed O'Brien
Personal details
Born (1949-01-30) January 30, 1949 (age 69)
Batavia, New York
Political partyRepublican
ResidenceFairport, New York
Alma materAdelphi University
OccupationNewsreader, journalist, anchorman

Rich Funke (born January 30, 1949) is an American journalist and politician who is currently the state senator for the 55th district of New York.

Funke is a Republican who was elected in November 2014 when he defeated Democratic incumbent Ted O'Brien.[1] Prior to his election, Funke had for almost 40 years been a news anchor and sports director for WHEC-TV, the NBC affiliate station in Rochester, New York.[2]


Funke is a former radio disk jockey, radio and television journalist and television sports reporter and news anchor in Rochester, NY. He began his career in broadcasting at WBTA in Batavia, New York. From there he worked as a news reader and reporter at WHAM in Rochester before moving in 1972 to WAXC a top 40 station as its news director. After WAXC he was brought on as a sports director at WHEC-TV in 1974. After a stint at WTVJ-TV in Miami, Florida from 1980 to 1981 he returned to Rochester and his previous position at WHEC-TV. In 2005, Funke became the primary anchor of the evening news at 5, 6, 7 and 11 p.m. at WHEC-TV before retiring in 2012 as one of the main faces of the station.

Political career[edit]

In March, 2014 Funke announced his candidacy for the 55th senate district seat against incumbent Democrat Ted O'Brien.[3] After a closely contested race between the two candidates Funke defeated O' Brien with 56% of the vote[4]

Funke is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks & Recreation and serves as Vice-Chair for Science, Technology, Incubation & Entrepreneurship. He also serves on seven other committees, including the Aging, Agriculture, Cities, Commerce, Economic Development & Small Business, Environmental Conservation, Consumer Protection, and Higher Education Committees. In addition, Funke is a member of the New York State Senate Heroin Task Force.[5]

Awards and honors[edit]

Funke received the James H. Ellery Memorial Award for Television for his coverage of the Rochester Americans in 1977 and 1986.

Funke was inducted into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame in December, 2012 shortly after his retirement.

On December 27, 2014, the Rochester Lancers of the Major Arena Soccer League will induct Funke into the Rochester Lancers Wall of Fame as one of Rochester's "soccer pioneers". Funke was the television play-by-play announcer for the original Rochester Lancers of the North American Soccer League.[6]

In 2016, Funke received the Friend of the Year award from Rochester's Ibero-American Action League due to his efforts in securing funding for a new English as a Second Language program in the area to provide non-English speakers the opportunity to gain communication skills necessary for education and employment.[7] [8]

Also in 2016, Funke was honored by the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester for his "support of [their] organization and for this regional outreach program."[9]

Personal life[edit]

Funke graduated from Adelphi University with a degree in business where he played quarterback for the Panthers' football team.

Funke donates his time to the Golisano Children's Hospital, Cancer Action, Ronald McDonald House, and Camp Good Days and Special times.

He is married to his wife Pat of 47 years.[10]


  1. ^ "Rich Funke takes Ted O'Brien's Senate seat". Democrat & Chronicle. 2014-11-05. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  2. ^ "Rich Funke, former news anchor, considers political run". Democrat & Chronicle. 2014-01-13. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
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  6. ^ DiVeronica, Jeff (December 11, 2014). "Sarachan, Funke, Durante, Short to be inducted to Lancers Wall of Fame". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY: Gannett. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
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External links[edit]

New York State Senate
Preceded by
Ted O'Brien
New York State Senate, 55th District
January 1, 2015 – present