WTEN mourns passing of Ralph Vartigian

(NEWS10) — The Rensselaer County Legislature says they are sad to report the passing of Ralph Vartigian, who served with the County Legislature from 1989 to 2001 with grace, honor and distinction.

Here is his story:

Ralph served as Majority Leader from 1993 through 2001, and was a World War II veteran of the U.S. Navy.

Before his career in public service, Ralph was a well-known newscaster with WTEN, and also hosted a popular morning show that made him known to residents throughout the region. Ralph held many titles in his career, but whatever his endeavor, was always a gentleman who aspired to the highest standards of public service.


Vartigian was known for his work shepherding a series of county budgets that lowered taxes, improving services and recognition for county veterans, environmental issues, distribution of additional sales tax to towns and other issues. He also was a strong constituent advocate.

Chair of the Legislature Stan Brownell served for four years with Ralph Vartigian, during 1997 through 2001 when Ralph was majority leader.


“Ralph Vartigian was very committed to his work in the Legislature, representing residents of District 2 and protecting the interests of Rensselaer County. He was very involved in ensuring the county never forgot the service of our veterans and their families. As a veteran of World War II, Ralph was deeply moved by his experience as a member of a Patriot Flight and visited the Legislature to discuss his experience. I am honored to have served with Ralph and try to follow the example and high standards he set,” said Chair of the Legislature Stan Brownell.

“Ralph was an effective legislator who was never overly concerned with politics. He wanted results, not rhetoric, and was respected by legislators of all parties,” said Majority Leader Ken Herrington.

“Ralph was very focused on his constituents and very devoted to issues affecting the Meadow Drive area he called home in North Greenbush. He could always be counted on to be a friendly, responsive and effective advocate for the people,” said Legislator Martin Reid, who served with Vartigian.

“As a veteran, Ralph ensured the county maintained a strong level of services for veterans and their families. He also was a strong supporter of the county’s monthly Honor a Deceased Veteran committee and always worked to ensure Rensselaer County never forget the service and sacrifice of our veterans ,” said Legislator Thomas Walsh Sr., chair of the Legislature’s Veterans Committee, who also served with Vartigian.

Brownell is expected to ask the Legislature to observe a moment of silence in memory of Ralph Vartigian at tonight’s year-end meeting.

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