Assemblyman Bob Oaks Statement on the Passing of Herman “Denny” Farrell

May 31, 2018

Today, the New York State Assembly observed a moment of silence in memory of former Assemblyman Herman “Denny” Farrell, who died last week.

Assembly Ways and Means Chairman Denny Farrell was an icon in New York politics for more than four decades. His dedication to those he represented, political savvy and physical stature towered above the crowd.

Our Assembly careers overlapped for 25 of his 42 years of service. Our collegial relationship grew into a strong friendship through six state budget cycles with me as the Ranking Minority Member on the Ways and Means Committee, while Chairman Farrell finished out his 23 year tenure as the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

Through countless hours of budget hearings each year, we sat next to each other and discussed not only budget priorities and funding issues but also family and the daily challenges for the people we represented, he in New York City and me in small town, rural New York. I think we each gained a better understanding of each other’s perspectives.

Numerous times we stood on the floor of the Assembly to debate the provisions of the annual state budget, and Denny was a fair and respectful adversary. No matter what question I or my colleagues asked, Denny always kept a sense of humor. Even though we were on opposite sides of the political spectrum on most issues, he could still be disarming in the midst of any tension-packed debate. I admired those traits as well as his stamina during the budget debates which would sometimes last into the very late evening or early morning hours.

Denny Farrell will be sorely missed by all who knew him, including those from all regions of the state and all political sectors.