James Tallon, a Binghamton native who served for several years as majority leader of the New York State Assembly, has died. He was 82 years old.

Tallon was born in 1941. He took an interest in government and public speaking at an early age. As a ninth grade student at East Junior High School, Tallon won a contest with a speech entitled "Freedom, Our Most Precious Heritage." He won several more oratorical competitions before he graduated from Binghamton North High School in 1959.

Tallon served as director of a regional health planning agency before he was first elected to the state Assembly in 1974. He served as Assembly majority leader from 1987 to 1993. He resigned his Assembly seat in September 1993 for a post with the United Hospital Fund in New York City.

Tallon also was a member of the state Board of Regents for several years.

James Tallon in the "Binghamton Now" radio studio on April 2, 2018. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
James Tallon in the "Binghamton Now" radio studio on April 2, 2018. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, a fellow Democrat, issued a statement late Tuesday calling Tallon "a giant." She said he represented the Binghamton area "for many years serving with dignity and distinction."

State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Tallon's "leadership on health care issues was especially impactful, improving the lives of all New Yorkers."

James Raymond Tallon Jr. on Court Street in Binghamton on June 20, 2014. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
James Raymond Tallon Jr. on Court Street in Binghamton on June 20, 2014. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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