Updated 12/28/2012 08:43 PM
Retirement to begin Monday for three long-time Assemblymen
The political landscape in Albany is changing as three long-time lawmakers are retiring. Our Megan Cruz sat down Ron Canestrari, Jack McEneny and Bob Reilly as their time in office comes to an end.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- "It's difficult to take things down, empty desks. I'm seeing my entire professional career pass before me," said Majority Leader Ron Canestrari as he packs up his office Friday.
Two other long-serving Assemblymen do the same. Three floors down on the sixth floor, you have Jack McEneny and on the fourth floor, Bob Reilly. The three Democrats have traded their seats in the Assembly for seats on an airplane. The destination: Retirement.
"I'm going to the Notre Dame football game on January 7th," said Reilly.
"I'm taking a cruise in January. Right off, the first week I'm taking off," said Canestrari.
"I'd like to write, to travel, to catch up with the garden," said McEneny.
While sad to be leaving, all say they know it's time, having made a difference in their time in office.
For Canestrari, one example from his 24 years in office: His work with the Watervliet Arsenal Partnership.
"To ensure that that industrial center would be the source of jobs and innovation in the area," he said.
For Reilly, it was his Salary Fund. In his eight years, he says he's donated over $500,000 to local charities like..
"The Cohoes Community Center and Colonie Senior Services Center," he listed.
For McEneny, he defines his 20 years in office by how he got to know the people in his district. It's advice he's given to his successor Patricia Fahy.
"Craft fairs, little leagues, or some of these very routine things where people are comfortable talking to you, because then they'll open up and you'll be a better legislator," he said.
The three say they have no regrets because they've served with integrity and because the future of their districts look bright. Phil Steck is taking over for Reilly, Cohoes Mayor John McDonald for Canestrari.
"It's time to pass the torch on," said McEneny. "We got good competent people replacing us and now they can make their path here."