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Assemblyman
Herman D. Farrell, Jr.
Assembly District 71
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Chair, Ways and Means Committee
Biography
Herman Farrell

Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, Jr. was elected to the State Assembly in 1974 from a district that encompasses West Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood.

In March of 1994, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver appointed Mr. Farrell Chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. He is also a member of the Rules Committee and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, as well as the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force. From 1979 until 1994, Farrell was Chairman of the Assembly Banks Committee. In 1983, Governor Cuomo appointed him to the Temporary Committee on Interstate Banking. From 1981 to 1984, he conducted a course at the New School for Social Research on Banking in New York. In 1981-82, he was Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions of the National Conference of State Legislators.

Among the legislation Assemblyman Farrell is proudest of is the passage of the Omnibus Consumer Protection and Banking Legislation Act. The provisions of this landmark act include consumer protections in the auto leasing industry; the establishment of a toll-free number at the New York State Banking Department to enable consumers to receive free information on credit card interest rates, fees and grace periods; and a requirement that banks provide low-cost lifeline checking accounts. In addition, the bill prohibits discrimination based on residency in the opening of bank accounts, and requires banks to make annual reports of the number and amount of small business and small farm loans.

Assemblyman Farrell's outstanding accomplishments in the Legislature began with the Neighborhood Preservation Companies Act, pioneer legislation that enables the state to fund community groups to provide tenant advocacy and fight housing abandonment in their neighborhoods. Other legislation that Farrell is particularly proud of include the passage of check clearing legislation that requires banks to clear checks in a shorter period of time and to notify depositors of the time it takes to clear checks. Legislation was also passed requiring banks to disclose their interest rates and other pertinent information in chart form, clearly marked in boldface type, on all mail solicitations. These two state banking laws became the model for federal legislation. He also strengthened anti-redlining laws by requiring stricter enforcement of community reinvestment provisions and was successful in passing legislation to monitor bank branch closings.

Prior to Assemblyman Farrell's election to the Assembly, he was the Assistant Director of the Mayor's office in Washington Heights, and had been a Confidential Aide to a State Supreme Court Justice.

Assemblyman Farrell was elected County Leader of his political party in New York in April 1981. He was initially elected on a platform of speaking to the issues important to New Yorkers and since the inception of his tenure, the Committee has taken positions on significant issues of our day, including reproductive freedom, gay and lesbian civil rights, trade-in of Westway funds and the restoration of federal monies for important social programs. Three times he has been an Elector in the Electoral College, most recently in 2000. Assemblyman Farrell's first election was in 1970, when he was elected a State Committeeman for two years. In 1983, Assemblyman Farrell was elected Vice Chair of his State Party, a position he held for ten years, and was elected Chair in 2001. In 1973, Mr. Farrell was elected District Leader, a position he continues to hold.

Mr. Farrell is the father of three children, Monique Farrell-Guidry and Herman Farrell, III and Sophia Ilene, and the proud grandfather of two granddaughters, Simone Adele Guidry and Madeleine Jones-Farrell.

Organizations that Farrell has been honored by include: New York State Supreme Court Officers Association Man of the Year Award, Harlem Week Committee, New York State Psychiatric Institute, State University of New York Educational Opportunity Center, Harlem Commonwealth Council Foundation, Frank Scanlon Tenants Association, Ralph J. Rangel Tenants Association, Federation of Negro Civil Service Organizations, Chew Lun Association, Child Memorial Church, Parole Officers, New York State Affirmative Action Council, Boricua College, New York State Court Clerks Association and the Muriel Silberberg Award.

Standing Committee Assignments 2006: Ways and Means (Chair); Rules.