Giglio remembered as a quiet leader in Assembly

Assemblyman Joe Giglio, R-Gowanda, was a man of few words on the state Assembly floor. Here he is pictured wishing Assemblyman Andy Goodell well on their final day in the Assembly together on June 7.

Assemblyman Joe Giglio was often quiet on the Assembly floor – but the Gowanda Republican has left a mark on his fellow Assembly members.

Giglio’s final sponsored bill was A.6404/S.6110 to waive a residency requirement for the clerk and treasurer in the village of Portville. The bill was passed unanimously with no debate and plenty of praise for Giglio’s work since he was elected in 2005 to represent the 149th Assembly District. His district was redistricted in 2013.

Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown, has spent countless hours with Giglio during their time together in the Assembly. Goodell and Giglio both told humorous stories about the day Goodell’s car was stolen in 2022.

“When I came here Joe was my mentor and 14 years later, he still is,” Goodell said. “But he’s more than a mentor. He’s also a friend to the point where when my first car was stolen he gave me a ride back to my apartment, talked to the press, tried to cover for me with my wife. When my car last week broke down, he gave me a ride home and back here. But most important, Joe is a rock solid guy. I mean, absolutely as honest as the day is long. You can trust everything he says. He is a true friend and a tremendous asset to our state and our Assembly.”

Giglio has served as the chairman of the Assembly Minority Conference’s Committee on Standing Committees, part of the leadership team in Albany. He also served as the ranking minority member of the Ethics and Guidance Committee and the Corrections Committee. Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, D-Brooklyn, served as chairwoman of the Ethics and Guidance Committee.

“We’ve had some interesting conversations,” Simon said. “But he is somebody I have come to rely on, to know that I can use him as a sounding board and always trust his judgment. So, Joe, I’m going to miss you very much.”

Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Catskill, joked that dinner with Giglio often included the Gowanda representative covering his ears because there were things being discussed that Giglio jokingly didn’t want to hear due to his role on the Ethics and Guidance Committee. Tague was emotional discussing his relationship with Giglio.

“I just want to say that it’s been a distinct honor to serve with you, Joe,” Tague said. “You’ve been a mentor and a very good friend and I am going to miss you dearly. I just want to say thank you for all that you’ve done for me, for everybody in our conference and everybody in this Assembly, most importantly for your family and the people of the state of New York. God bless you, my friend.”

Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Albion, was elected seven months after Giglio and joked that he adopted Giglio as his bodyguard. He echoed Tague’s joke about Giglio’s seriousness concerning his work on the Ethics and Guidance Committee, saying there were times he wondered if Giglio was really undercover working for the Attorney General’s office or for the state Inspector General’s office. Then Hawley, too, turned serious when discussing his longtime colleague.

“He doesn’t emote too much, but I can tell you his heart is as big as his soul,” Hawley said. “As Chris Tague said, he has a great family, his lovely wife and twin daughters and a great young son who’s on his way for his master’s out in, I think, Minnesota. I consider him one of my very best friends in my entire life and I’m going to miss him as the years go on and wish him the very very best of everything. He is really an individual who everyone should get to know before he leaves, which will be in about 30 minutes.”

Giglio had previously served as state deputy inspector general, conducting investigations of alleged criminal activity, fraud, waste and abuse within state agencies as well as private individuals and companies that do business with New York in a region stretching from Buffalo to Syracuse to the Pennsylvania border. Prior to joining the Inspector General’s Office, Assemblyman Giglio served as a special assistant in the State Attorney General’s office, with responsibility for coordinating efforts with all branches of government.

Giglio’s background in corrections led him to be selected to co-chair the Assembly Minority Task Force on Preventing Domestic Violence, the Assembly Minority Task Force on Heroin Addiction & Community Response, and the Assembly Minority Conference Criminal Justice Reform Study. He was also co-chair of the Assembly Minority Statewide Forum on Workforce Issues in the Correctional System; a member of the Medicaid Waste, Fraud and Abuse Task Force; the Agriculture, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Task Force; and the Crime in our Communities Task Force. Assemblyman Giglio was the Assembly Minority’s appointment to the Public Authorities Control Board and the Medicaid Redesign Team. The team reviewed the Medicaid program for two years, uncovering $2.5 billion in savings enacted as part of the state budget.

“I really want to say that this is Mr Giglio’s last bill,” said Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, R-Ballston Spa. “He will be leaving us soon. We’re very sad. I really enjoyed serving with Joe over the years. He isn’t the most talkative guy on the floor, but that’s not a bad thing, right? He’s been a very steady hand, a very reasonable person and just a real gentleman, a very kind person and somebody that I’ve really enjoyed serving with. I just wanted to say that I wish him the very, very best in the future and I hope that we get to see him again. It’s hard to believe that he won’t be here anymore.”


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