State Senator Thomas Morahan, who represented parts of Rockland and Orange Counties, has died at age 78 after a six-month battle with leukemia.
A Bronx native, Morahan was elected to the state Senate in 1999. He is probably best known for successfully advocating for Timothy's Law, which requires insurers to provide more mental health coverage.
The absence of Morahan from the Senate isn't likely to impact the current session, since 32 votes are needed to pass legislation, and he was a stalwart member of the Republican minority.
Running to replace Morahan -- who was not seeking re-election -- are Rockland County Exec Scott Vanderhoef and 29-year-old town clerk David Carlucci.
Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos issued statement on the passing of Morahan:
I am deeply saddened by the loss of Senator Tom Morahan, a tireless and dedicated public servant, but more importantly a great and valued personal friend. His accomplishments as a Senator, ranging from his fight to stop the commuter tax, to his efforts to help the mentally disabled, are only exceeded by his accomplishments as a father, husband and friend.
One of his lasting legacies was his insistence on bipartisanship and non-partisanship in state government, and he strived to achieve that and succeeded in doing so more times than not.
Tom was a champion for the mentally disabled and their families, as well as to all of his constituents in Rockland County and the lower Hudson Valley. And he was working for them right to the end.
Tom's hard work, his strong personality and his charm will never be forgotten by the countless thousands of people who were fortunate enough to call him their friend.
He will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Helen, his daughters, and the rest of his family at this difficult time.