Sunday, April 25, 2010

Remembering a Great Politican of Staten Island after One year ago

This is the Staten Island which is named after State Senator John Marchi
State Senator John J. Marchi captured the Republican mayoral nomination in an upset in 1969, but lost the general election.

John J. Marchi

May 20, 1921 – April 25, 2009

He will be remembered as the former New York State Senator who represented Staten Island for a record 50 years. Marchi a Republican, retired on December 31, 2006, from the seat that he had held since January 1, 1957.

Marchi was first elected on November 6, 1956, after having served as a Senate aide. An attorney, Marchi has been active in conservative issues, particularly of a fiscal nature, during his long Senate tenure. He has also been a strong advocate for Staten Island issues. Marchi wrote the state laws to help New York City recover from its fiscal crisis and near bankruptcy in the 1970s. Marchi has been a long advocate for the secession of Staten Island from the rest of New York City.

He wrote a law which backed a secession referendum in 1993. While the referendum passed, the legislature has not allowed Staten Island to become its own city. As a part of his Staten Island secession work, Marchi drafted a model city charter for a new City of Staten Island. Marchi also drafted the law to close the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island. Marchi ran twice for Mayor of New York City. He won a surprise upset over Mayor John V. Lindsay in the 1969 Republican primary.

He ran in the general election against Lindsay, who was still the Liberal Party nominee, and Democratic Comptroller Mario Procaccino. Marchi and Procaccino lost to Lindsay. Marchi was the Republican nominee again in 1973, but he lost to Comptroller Abraham D. Beame, the Democrat that Lindsay had defeated in 1965. In 1961 he lost a race for Borough President of Staten Island. Marchi was the only Republican member of the State Senate who opposed the death penalty.

Marchi was a member of the Executive Committee and the Board of Governors of the Council of State Governments. He was appointed by U.S. President Richard M. Nixon to the National Advisory Committee on Drug Abuse Prevention.
A new Staten Island Ferry boat was named in Marchi's honor in 2006.
John Marchi Hall was named in his honor on campus of the College of Staten Island in 2006. The building is located in the "north" side of campus; building 2N.
On October 19, 2006, the 85-year-old Marchi passed out and fell from his chair at the annual Alfred E. Smith Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. Marchi died on April 25, 2009, while vacationing in Lucca, Italy with his wife and other family members.

Senate leadership positions:
Chairman of the Joint Liquor Laws Committee
Chairman of the Senate Commerce and Navigation Committee
Chairman of the Joint New York City Docks Committee
Chairman of the Joint Alcoholic Beverage Control Law Committee
Chairman of the Senate Constitutional Affairs Subcommittee
Chairman of the Senate City of New York Committee
Chairman of the Joint Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee
Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee
Chairman of the Senate Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee
Vice President Pro Tempore of the Senate
Chairman of the Temporary State Commission on New York City School Governance
Chairman of the New York State Charter Commission for Staten Island
Chairman of the Staten Island Charter Commission
Deputy Majority Leader for Intergovernmental Relations
Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee
Assistant Majority Whip
Assistant Majority Leader for Conference Operations
Chairman of the Senate Task Force on World Trade Center Recovery

John J. Marchi, Who Fought for Staten Island in Senate, Dies at 87

John J. Marchi, whose 50 years as a state senator from Staten Island made him the longest-serving lawmaker in New York and one of the longest-serving state legislators in the nation, died on Saturday while vacationing in Lucca, Italy, the home of his forebears. He was 87.
The cause was complications of pneumonia, said his wife, Maria Luisa Marchi, and other members of his family.
Mr. Marchi:a Republican who often ran with the endorsement of Democrats, retired in 2006 after 25 consecutive victories since he was first elected in 1956. He lost two New York mayoral races, to John V. Lindsay in 1969 and to Abraham D. Beame in 1973.
But Mr. Marchi was known as an effective advocate for New York, forceful in seeking federal loan guarantees and helping to craft the financial package that saved the city from bankruptcy in the mid-1970s. He was also a champion for Staten Island, the least-populated of the city’s boroughs, with about 500,000 people, but also its most bucolic, with open areas that once were farms.
Like a distant village across New York Harbor, Staten Island has long been called a forgotten borough, neglected by city government, according to its residents. Indeed, Mr. Marchi’s popularity was partly a result of his sustained but unsuccessful efforts to win Staten Island’s independence from the city, a campaign that earned him the sobriquet “the Father of Secession.” Among his many honors, a new Staten Island ferry was christened the Senator John J. Marchi in 2004.
“For five decades,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on Sunday, “mayors of both political parties relied on John to represent the city’s interests in Albany — as the legislative architect of the state university system, as an advocate for equitable transportation and education funding and on so many other vital issues, John was a true and far-sighted statesman.”
Malcolm A. Smith, the Senate majority leader, said of Mr. Marchi, “He had an unwavering dedication to the people he served, and Staten Island is an even better place to live because of his work.”
Mr. Marchi held conservative positions on most issues. Consistent with the teachings of his Roman Catholic faith, he opposed abortion and the death penalty, though many of his constituents favored capital punishment. He supported American involvement in the Vietnam War, calling antiwar demonstrations “a strike against America.”
In the 1990s, alarmed by an increase in the welfare rolls, he sought to change New York’s law to read that the state “may provide” rather than “shall provide” benefits. “If we don’t stop this welfare trend,” he said, “New York will be able to afford nothing else but welfare.”
He was born Giovanni Marchi on May 20, 1921, on Staten Island, the son of Luigi and Alina Girardello Marchi, who had emigrated from Lucca, a city in Tuscany. His father had been a sculptor, but made a living making decorative waxed fruit.
Giovanni became John on the advice of a nun. He attended parochial schools on Staten Island, graduated with honors from Manhattan College in 1942 and earned a law degree from St. John’s University in 1950 and a doctorate from Brooklyn Law School in 1953. In World War II, he served with the Coast Guard on antisubmarine duty in the Atlantic and with the Navy in the Okinawa campaign in the Pacific.
After practicing law in Staten Island, he became counsel to the State Senate in Albany, then ran successfully for a seat, riding in on President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s landslide. Mr. Marchi quickly rose to influential Senate committee positions.
In 1969, during a time of racial tensions and antiwar protests in New York, he challenged the moderate Mr. Lindsay for the Republican mayoral nomination. Mr. Marchi was hawkish, and his upset victory in the Republican primary stunned supporters of Mr. Lindsay, a debonair politician with a patrician manner, and briefly propelled Mr. Marchi to the forefront of city politics.
The senator, who often came across as thoughtful but not an artful phrasemaker, surprised supporters, remarking that Mr. Lindsay harbored “delusions of adequacy.” But Mr. Lindsay rallied to secure the Liberal Party nomination, and running as a Liberal-Fusion candidate, he overwhelmed Mr. Marchi in the general election. Four years later, Mr. Marchi was defeated again, this time by Mr. Beame, the Democrat.
As the city’s brush with bankruptcy loomed, Mr. Marchi, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, crafted the legislative underpinnings of the Emergency Financial Control Board and the Municipal Assistance Corporation, agencies that helped guide the city through the financial turbulence.
Mr. Marchi, who loved the classics and could converse about Marcus Aurelius, Ovid and Aristotle, adored the Tuscany of his ancestors. He married Maria Luisa Davini in 1948 in her hometown, Lucca. Besides his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Aline Balbas of Rahway, N.J., and Joan Migliori of Staten Island; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
While he did not win independence for Staten Island, Mr. Marchi never gave up on the idea of the borough as a place apart.
“Sometimes,” he said, “I feel that the quality of life in this city is so disastrous that I just can’t wait to get away from it — back out to Staten Island.”

After 50 Years, Staten Island Senator Announces His Retirement

State Senator John J. Marchi, a Staten Island lawmaker whose 50 years in the Legislature made him a symbol of the power of incumbency in Albany, said yesterday that he would not seek a 26th term. The decision ends a career that began when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president and that included a major upset when he captured the Republican mayoral nomination from John V. Lindsay in 1969.
The announcement by Mr. Marchi, who turns 85 next month, ends one of the longest careers of a state lawmaker in the country. It also sent ripples through state politics, as Mr. Marchi had until recently talked about running for another term despite being hospitalized for a week last month because of bleeding of the esophagus.
His retirement is another blow to Senate Republicans, who are seeking to hold on to their narrowing majority as the state increasingly turns Democratic.
"It was a difficult decision for me," Mr. Marchi said in an interview yesterday. "But after 50 years without a break, I thought it was time to move on."
He explained: "I'm turning 85 on May 20, and I've had a health episode recently, even though I feel quite fine right now. I'm still getting better. But the person who represents Staten Island in the Senate should be someone who is in top shape physically."
On Staten Island, Mr. Marchi has long been a highly popular legislator as well as a political institution. Indeed, politicians throughout the state, irrespective of their party, speak warmly of him. In many election years, he has run not only on the Republican and Conservative lines that have been his mainstay, but also with the Democratic Party's imprimatur and, at times, the Liberal Party's endorsement.
So popular is the senator that Mr. Marchi has an aquarium in the Staten Island Zoo named after him and one of the Staten Island ferry boats. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Mr. Marchi is tied with Wisconsin State Senator Fred Risser, a Democrat, as the longest-serving member of a state legislature.
Mr. Marchi first announced his plans to his fellow Republican senators yesterday. He said that the decision not to run again this year was an especially difficult one. But he added that he had concluded that his health demanded that he slow down. Also, he said that his wife of 58 years, Maria Luisa, had urged him to leave the Legislature. She frequently accompanied him to Albany.
Last month, Mr. Marchi became ill one day after a $500-a-plate fundraiser in Albany. At the time, Mr. Marchi said that he was likely to run again.
Mr. Marchi stunned the city in 1969 by beating the incumbent mayor, Mr. Lindsay, in the Republican primary. But Mr. Lindsay, running as a Liberal-Fusion candidate, ultimately prevailed in a race that also included Mario A. Procaccino, a conservative Democrat.
As word of Mr. Marchi's decision spread across the state yesterday, officials in both parties were huddling to determine how to approach the post-Marchi era. The district, which includes most of Staten Island, has a large Democratic edge in registration over Republicans.
Several prominent Democrats were mentioned in the island's political circles yesterday as possible contenders, including City Councilman Michael E. McMahon, Assemblyman Michael J. Cusick and former Councilman Jerome X. O'Donovan.
Party affiliations aside, however, the district tends to be moderate to conservative and it is the home of four Republican officials who are mentioned as possible candidates: Councilmen James S. Oddo, who is the Republican leader in the Council, and Andrew J. Lanza as well two Assemblymen, Vincent Ignizio and Matthew Mirones.
But yesterday was a day of tributes to Mr. Marchi. In a statement, Joseph L. Bruno, the Senate majority leader, said Mr. Marchi "has devoted his life to public service and has built a record of accomplishment that is truly second to none."
While he is a conservative Republican in the city's most conservative and Republican borough, he is sometimes at odds with other party officials. He has long opposed the death penalty, and, despite his opposition to abortion, he has failed to win the endorsement of the Right to Life Party on Staten Island because of his support of budgets that have included funds for abortions for poor women.

State Senator John Marchi: Sir, its been a privelege to met you in person at the Staten Island's own July 4th parade and also its a honor to know who you were in Staten Island's own history. Thank you for all what you did for Staten Island and you will be missed! Remembering you on this day after the one year anniversary of your passing, may you rest in peace!

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