Shout Out: Sen. Hugh Farley | New York

After more than four decades in public office, New York state Sen. Hugh T. Farley announced earlier this year that he would not run for re-election and would retire at the end of 2016 to spend more time with family. Farley, also Senate vice president pro tempore, was first elected to the New York Senate in 1976, making him its second longest-serving member. Before his Senate run, Farley served as councilmember and, later, as town council majority leader in Niskayuna, New York. His long public service career has resulted in numerous accolades and accomplishments. “I’m very proud of my career,” Farley said. “I feel I’ve accomplished quite a few things.” In 1979, he became the first chairman of the Aging Committee in the state Senate and has supported aging policies throughout his career. Known as the national Father of Hospice, Farley authored the nation’s first hospice law, and New York became the first state to adopt a comprehensive hospice program. Farley said he also came up with the idea for respite care, which helps caregivers to take time off when caring for the elderly. Today, as the elderly population continues to grow, states must continue to work to keep these individuals healthy and out of nursing homes, Farley said. “The nursing homes and Medicaid are breaking the backs, financially, of government,” he said. “I think that there ought to be programs to encourage people to stay in their own environment.” Another program Farley supported in New York, called Nursing Homes Without Walls, helped the elderly to receive outside services in their homes. “Service to individual citizens has always been of paramount importance to me,” Farley said in a May statement announcing his retirement. “Over the years, I have been able to assist thousands of individuals, families and businesses who have reached out to my office in a time of need. I have enjoyed making a real difference for real people.” Farley served as CSG national chairman in 1987 and as chairman of the CSG Eastern Regional Conference in 1983. “I’ve got some very dear friends throughout the United States as a result of The Council of State Governments,” he said.