In 1976, Jimmy Carter edged out Gerald Ford for the U.S. presidency, All The President's Men was a box office hit and a small company called Apple Computer was founded in California.
It's also the first year Western New York Democrat Robin Schimminger was elected to the state Assembly. Schimminger said this coming session will be his last.
"I made the decision that, given a lot of factors, personal, family, that I would choose not to seek election to another term," he said.
For roughly half of his more than four decade tenure, Schimminger has served as chair of the Assembly Economic Development Committee. In that capacity Monday, he led a hearing at the University at Buffalo.
Schimminger focused on job benchmarks and clawback provisions for Tesla as he questioned the chief operating officer of Empire State Development. The lawmaker has often been critical of the governor's economic development strategies and the Buffalo Billion initiative that brought the company to Western New York. It has pledged to create 1,460 jobs by April or face a $41.2 million penalty.
"Everyone hopes that Tesla meets its required job count," he said. "Everyone hopes that but as the clock ticks along and we don't see the movement, it's entirely possible that we may not."
The reputation Schimminger's gained as a cynic is one he seems to embrace.
"When the framers of both the state Constitution and the national Constitution put this all together, they wanted to have a certain tension between an executive and a legislative, the legislative branch engaging in, oh my gosh, some oversight," he said.
In the past few years, Schimminger has pushed for a public database of state contracts. ESD reported Monday it has hired a firm to develop the database at the governor's direction. Schimminger hopes it provides increased transparency long after he's left the Legislature but is interested to see what's included.
"We're better to have something but we would be a whole lot better off if it was statutorily enacted so it could not be fiddled with," he said, referencing bill which never passed the Legislature.
Schimminger said he expects other lawmakers, including whoever becomes the chair of his committee, to continue the checks and balances in state government.