Today we lost an icon in New York State politics with the passing of our beloved former colleague, Herman "Denny" Farrell, Jr. In the People's House of the New York State Assembly, Denny blazed a trail of dedication and commitment to the constituents of his northern Manhattan community and created a legacy that is a model for all who serve in the New York State Assembly. I will miss Denny's advice and counsel, but his guidance will stay with me forever.
Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, to Denny it did not matter which side of the aisle you called home. He had an uncanny ability to bridge divides and bring people together for the good of New York. I have often said that it is difficult to put into words just how much Denny meant to the Assembly. Always quick with a story and generous with his time, Denny was a humble public servant but someone who authored some of the most consequential laws in New York.
Denny served as chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee for more than 20 years, shepherding New York through both good times and difficult times. He wrote the landmark Consumer Protection and Banking Act to provide citizens with critical services and protections, making a difference in the lives of so many. A force in local and state politics for so long, Denny earned the respect and admiration of all who worked with him and to list all his good works would fill a book. He was a proud member of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus and a tireless advocate for our communities.
My heart aches for Denny's friends and family, but I know he is smiling down on us all. In announcing his retirement last year, Denny told the New York Times "Next year they won't remember my name."?Happily, this is not true. I for one will remember Denny and I know all the lives he touched will fondly remember him and his good works. Rest in peace, Denny.