Former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno dies at 91

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BRUNSWICK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Joe Bruno, one of the most prominent figures in recent New York State history died peacefully surrounded by his family Tuesday night, he was 91. The Capital Region native was known as “Uncle Joe” and had the home of the Tri-City ValleyCats named after him, the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy.

Bruno was born and raised in Glens Falls and attended Skidmore College. He fought in the Korean War as a member of the United States Army. He served 14 years in the Senate as a member and later became Senate Majority Leader.

The mass for Joe Bruno will be streamed live on the St. Pius X Facebook page.

The New York State Senate will be webcasting the Funeral Mass in a Hearing Room in the Legislative Office Building to be determined.

He will ultimately be transported to the Oakwood Cemetery in Troy for a private burial service.

Here’s a timeline of notable events in Bruno’s life:

  • April 8, 1929: Born Joseph Louis Bruno, in Glens Falls to Italian immigrant parents. The third oldest of 8 children.
  • 1952-54: A veteran of Korea, Bruno received the Bronze Service Star and other honors as well as becoming the undefeated light heavyweight champ of the 25th Infantry Division based in Hawaii.
  • 1966: Worked on Governor Rockefeller’s campaign staff.
  • 1968-69: President of the New York State Association of Young Republicans.
  • 1969-74: Special Assistant to Speaker of the Assembly Perry Duryea.
  • 1974-77: Chairman of the Rensselaer County Republican Committee.
  • 1976: Elected to the NYS Senate representing the 43rd district covering Rensselaer County and most of Saratoga County.
  • 1994: Elected Senate Majority Leader. -2002 Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, “The Joe,” opens. Home of the Tri-City ValleyCats, Bruno helped secure the funds to build the stadium on the HVCC campus in Troy.
  • July 2007: “Troopergate.” Gov. Spitzer was secretly using State Police to track Bruno. Records indicating the Senator’s use of state aircraft to travel to fundraisers were leaked to the Times Union.
  • July 2008: Bruno resigns his seat as an FBI corruption investigation was intensifying.
  • January 2009: Bruno is arraigned on federal corruption charges for his financial dealings with labor unions. Charged under what is known as the “Honest Services Law,” prosecutors alleged that he accepted millions in illegal “fees” from the unions and other groups.
  • December 2009: After 7 days of deliberation, Bruno is convicted on 2 of 8 felony counts he was facing and ultimately sentenced to 2 years in prison. The jury found him guilty of 11 payments he received from Loudonville businessman Jared Abbruzzese.
  • June 2010: The US Supreme Court overturns Bruno’s conviction on a narrower definition of the “Honest Services Law.” Says prosecutors must provide evidence of a bribe or kickback not simply a conflict of interest.
  • May 2012: Indicted on new federal charges related to dealings with Abbruzzese.
  • May 2014: Acquitted of all charges.

Capital Region leaders are sharing their memories and expressing their grief for the fallen leader through social media:

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik wrote on twitter “I am saddened to read the news of Joe Bruno’s passing. Joe was a household name throughout my childhood. A native of #NY21, Joe took the time to reach out and lend his encouragement to me when I first ran for Congress. Prayers for Kay at this time.”

“My thoughts are with the family of Senator Joe Bruno at this moment. A wonderful man and fearless leader who dedicated his life to public service and strived to make New York a better place for all. Senator Bruno, you will be greatly missed,” Will Barclay, New York State Assembly Republican Conference leader said.

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