Gary D. Finch, who was first elected to the New York State Assembly on November 2, 1999, is a successful small-business owner with an extensive record of community service. He represents the 126th Assembly District, which encompasses parts of Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland and Onondaga counties. Assemblyman Finch was born in Auburn. He attended Cayuga Community College and was awarded a degree from the Simmons School of Mortuary Science in Syracuse, New York in 1966. In addition, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration and Political Theory from SUNY Empire State College in 1989. Since 1970, Finch has been owner and chief operating officer of Brew-Finch Funeral Homes, Incorporated, which is a multi-funeral home company operating funeral homes in northern, central and southern New York State. Finch was first elected to public office in 1979 as a village of Aurora trustee, and in 1982, he was elected mayor. During his eight years as mayor, he was successful in negotiating financial support from a local tax exempt higher education institution and planned a financially-solvent, long-term strategy for the village. He was also instrumental in planning the village's water storage and delivery system and upgrading the village's streets. Assemblyman Finch's commitment to higher education is evidenced by his service to Cayuga Community College. Finch has served the college in various capacities, including Chair of the Board of Trustees and as a member of the Negotiating, Scholarship, Presidential Search and Strategic Planning committees. He has served on the Assembly’s Education Committee and continues to be a strong and knowledgeable advocate on educational issues. Assemblyman Finch is an active member of his community. He has served as Cayuga County United Way's president and campaign chair and also on its executive and finance committees. Finch is a past member of Leadership Cayuga's Curriculum Program Committee, chair of the past membership committee for Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Rotary Club, a charter member, past president and big brother for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, past board member of Hospice of the Finger Lakes and a former member of the Schweinfurth Art Center finance committee. Finch is a member of the American Irish Legislators Society and the American Legislative Exchange Council. In recognition of Finch's commitment to his community, he has been honored with many awards, including Outstanding Young Man in New York State for his contributions in Public Service by the New York Jaycees. Finch received a perfect score of 100 on state farming issues from the New York Farm Bureau and was presented with the “Circle of Friends” Award. Finch served on the Assembly’s Agriculture Committee and continues to work with the district’s number one industry in addressing issues facing the farming community. Finch currently serves as Assistant Minority Leader to the Minority Conference. He is also assigned to the Assembly committees on Agriculture, Correction, Energy, Environmental Conservation, Insurance and Rules. Finch previously served as ranking minority member of the Assembly’s Correction Committee and continues to be a vocal advocate on behalf of correction officers, their families and correction issues. He and his wife, Marcia Herrling Finch, reside in the town of Springport and have raised two children, Amy and Gregory.