Schenectady County Legislator Robert Farley announced he’ll bow out of politics after his term concludes this year.
The Legislature’s Republican minority leader said he won’t run for re-election this fall, bringing an end to a career in county politics that lasted 18 years. In reaching his decision, Farley, 48, said he no longer believes he has the time to adequately serve as an elected official.
“It’s all personal circumstances,” he said during a meeting at The Daily Gazette’s offices Wednesday afternoon.
Farley, who serves as the state Senate majority’s counsel, also shrugged of the notion of running for higher office. In particular, he said he has no interest in running for the Senate’s 44th District if his father decides to retire in the near future. “I’m not looking for that at this moment,” he said.
Robert Farley said he wasn’t sure of his father’s intentions, despite others “regularly checking his pulse.” In the event his father does leave office, Farley said he would allow other Republicans — namely Assemblyman George Amedore Jr. or former Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco — to seek the position.
Sen. Hugh Farley, 79, has spent more than three decades in the Senate and is one of the chamber’s oldest members.
And the elder Farley has no intention of leaving office in the near future. He said Wednesday he’ll seek another term in 2012.
“I’m in good health,” he said. “At this time I have no intention of retiring.”
County Republican Committee Chairman Tom Buchanan lauded Farley’s service and said he was sorry to see the longtime legislator go. But he also sees Farley’s impending departure as an opportunity to bring in new faces.
For instance, Buchanan said, the committee had at least a half-dozen candidates express interest in the seat vacated when Susan Savage, the Legislature’s former Democratic chairwoman, resigned to take a position with the state last month.
On Sunday, the county GOP Executive Committee endorsed Glenville business owner Mike Dietrich for Savage’s seat in the Third District. Buchanan said the interest expressed by candidates before the selection has him convinced of the party’s vitality.
“We expect to have a plethora of candidates to choose from,” he said of Robert Farley’s seat.
Democratic Committee Chairman Brian Quail sees the end of Farley’s term as an opportunity for his party to seize a seat long held by Republicans. But he acknowledged being caught off guard by Farley’s announcement.
“There was no inkling from the Republicans that he wasn’t running,” he said. “I think he surprised everyone.”
James Buhrmaster, the only incumbent Republican running for the Legislature in November, was saddened by Farley’s announcement. But he said Farley is right to put his family and career ahead of politics.
“He’s got to do what is best to do for Bob Farley,” he said.
Farley was first elected in 1993 and has won four consecutive campaigns since. He served as the Legislature’s chairman when it was under Republican control and helped author the Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority legislation.
Farley supported giving county assistance to a number of major projects throughout the county, including the MVP Health Care and state Department of Transportation buildings in downtown Schenectady, relocating the U.S. Military Reserve Headquarters to the county airport in Glenville and the Time Warner office complexes in Rotterdam. He also backed the establishment of the County Law Enforcement Council and the county sheriff’s road patrol.
Farley said he was pleased to help elevate the county from the position it was in during the early 1990s when he first came to office. While acknowledging there’s still a long way to go, he credited the community with battling back from many years in decline.
“This community came together and made it better,” he said.