NEWBURGH – The sign on the podium read: “Serving America since 1944.” State Senator William Larkin made it official on Thursday that he will retire at the end of the year.
The 90-year-old lawmaker made the announcement with his wife, Patricia, at his side, before a packed room at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center.
Former Governor George Pataki, who served with Larkin in the Assembly and Senate, praised his former colleague.
“There will never be another one like him in Orange County or anywhere else in the State of New York,” he said. Pataki called Larkin “a true patriot” and cited among Larkin’s crowning accomplishments establishment of the Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor.
arkin delivered a tearful extemporaneous speech and called for unity.
“It isn’t here throwing rocks at somebody, it’s standing up and saying ‘how can I join you and be a part of a community?’ This is a community; this is unity. There is no ‘I’ in team; cooperation and teamwork always product positive results. We didn’t win wars because we fought among ourselves; we won wars because we had self-respect. We had the truth of our great country and ladies and gentlemen, I am a proud American.”
Larkin served for 23 1/2 years in the US Army, seeing action in WWII and Korea, before retiring as a lieutenant colonel.
The senator began his political career when he successfully ran for New Windsor town supervisor in November 1975. After one year, he ran for the Assembly which he held for several years until he challenged an incumbent Democrat and captured his current Senate seat.