TRENTON, N.J.(CBSNewYork) — New Jersey Senator Dick Codey will go down in history books this week as the state’s longest serving legislator in Trenton.

Forty years ago Codey, then 27, was a kid from Essex County with a ticket to Trenton.

“I got nominated by the party and there I went. Who knew that one day I would become the governor, certainly not me,” he told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith.

Codey has long been known as a champion for the mentally ill. Over the decades he has worked through the assembly, the senate, the governor’s office, and back to the senate but it was his time as chief executive that he his most proud of.

Codey took over the seat following Jim McGreevey’s resignation.

“Those days that I served for fourteen months I will cherish for the rest of my life and so will my family,” he said.

On Tuesday, at noon Codey will officially enter the state’s history books but said that he will step aside before reaching the fifty year mark.

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