The Farley Report from Phoenix #190: 9-5-13

I apologize for the delay in sending out this Farley Report. It's been a tough month for my family.

I drove to St. Louis in mid-August to drop off my oldest daughter Amelia for her freshman year at Washington University in St. Louis -- I am so proud of her, and was so glad to have those three days with just her and I on the road before she took the big leap into her independent future.

While there, my dad Jim Farley unexpectedly suffered a massive stroke at his home in Spokane, and he passed away a short while later on August 23. I drove from St. Louis to Spokane to help my sister take care of my dad's affairs, and returned home to Tucson a couple of days ago.

Thank you to everyone who shared your condolences. Those of you who have lost a parent (or both as in my case) know that the pain will never go away, but neither will their presence within us. I hope you don't mind if I tell you a bit about my dad and how proud I am of him. 

DadKoreaLR.jpgThe continuous thread running through his life was public service, powered by an entrepreneurial spirit combined with an inexhaustible curiosity. Shortly after graduating from high school in 1951, he signed up to serve as a decorated U.S. Army Combat Engineer in the Korean War, clearing minefields and building bridges and roads. 

After returning home he joined the U.S. Forest Service as a wildland firefighter in California and Oregon, then went to work helping to build the interstate highway system as a civil engineer on the future I-10. Can you say "greatest generation"?

His ultimate venture into serving the public was his career as a public school teacher at the elementary level for 31 years. That's why, when someone calls me Mr. Farley, I think my dad is in the room. His students still talk about the power he had in their lives, always challenging them to be the best they could be. One of his former third-graders, NFL all-star offensive tackle Anthony Muñoz, told me my dad was the most important teacher he ever had.

Even after retirement, he continued working on ideas for how to make the world a better place, and I found legal pads all over his apartment covered with sketches and marketing plans for various ventures aimed at improving values and ethics among students. 

Dad_MeLombardiStatueLR.jpgEvery summer growing up, he took me camping and fishing throughout rural Utah, where his sister and my cousins had moved in the late 1960s. For a kid growing up in suburban Los Angeles, this was quite a treat, and taught me a lot about real life, and left me with a deep love for our Western landscape.

While his passing was a surprise, I feel so lucky that the two of us got to make a lifelong dream come true when we celebrated our 50th and 80th birthdays last December at a Packers game at Lambeau Field, and we shared one last road trip filled with laughter from Spokane to Helena, Montana, just three weeks before his passing. Those memories soothe the pain. 

Meanwhile, here in Tucson, there is some very exciting news -- our first Modern Streetcar has arrived, and you are invited to the official welcome tomorrow (Friday) afternoon at 4:00pm at the corner of 8th Street and 5th Avenue at the Streetcar Maintenance Facility. This is OUR streetcar -- so many of us have worked for so long to make this happen, so let's come together on this joyous occasion to celebrate a new era for Tucson transit and the Tucson economy. 

I was very pleased to read a wonderful editorial in yesterday's Star written by my old debating rival and new comrade-in-arms former Chrysler dealer Steve Christy. I deeply appreciate his candor and integrity as he talks about what great things the streetcar is doing for Tucson. It warms my heart to see folks of all backgrounds coming together on this issue. Check out my Facebook page for more photos and videos of our new community investment.

That's it for today's report, but I will write you again in a couple of weeks to talk at length about the upcoming opening of the new Healthcare Exchanges and how they can help you save money and obtain good health coverage even if you are an individual, sole proprietor, or very small business. You won't want to miss it.

Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Senator. 

Steve

Steve Farley

Senator, District 9, Tucson

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