Charley Houghtaling’s lifetime of public service
NEW SCOTLAND (June 15, 2017) — Charles Houghtaling left the Albany County Legislature in 2012 following a lifetime of public service that was topped by a record 16-year tenure as chairman of the body.
Houghtaling, a Democrat from Feura Bush in New Scotland, became chairman of the Albany County Legislature in 1994, when members elected him to succeed Harold Joyce. Houghtaling worked in the leadership post until 2010, when then-Legislator Daniel P. McCoy assumed the job.
As a young man, “Charley” joined the Army and served as a staff sergeant during the Korean War. He became a 60-year member of the Onesquethaw Volunteer Fire Company, and a 25-year member of Carpenters Local 117.
Houghtaling and his family owned and operated Houghtaling’s Market in Feura Bush for nearly 30 years, and were instrumental in developing Feura Bush Park. For Flag Day and Houghtaling’s 84th birthday on Wednesday, the New Scotland Town Board passed a resolution renaming the park after him, and read a proclamation recognizing his “lifetime of service to his town, his county and his country.”
Houghtaling entered politics in the 1960s, when he became a Democratic committee member. He served on the New Scotland Zoning Board of Appeals, Assessment Review Board and the Town Board before being elected Legislator in 1984. Houghtaling represented Westerlo and a part of New Scotland in Legislative District 38.
Houghtaling served on the Legislature’s Audit and Finance and Conservation and Improvement committees, and the Albany County Soil and Water District. He was a member of the Capital District Local Development Corporation.
During Houghtaling’s 26 years as a Legislator, he was instrumental in redeveloping Albany International Airport and the Albany County Judicial Center. A year after becoming chairman, he voted to support the appointment of Michael Breslin as county executive. He was among the first lawmakers to encourage shared services among municipalities, and advocated for a law that provided tax exemptions for military veterans of the Cold War. Majority Leader Frank Commisso credited Houghtaling with expanding the Democratic Majority in the Legislature as chairman.
Houghtaling and his wife of 55 years, Ann, have three sons. The Albany County Legislature thanks Charley Houghtaling for his many years of dedication and accomplishments.