After almost 40 years in the state legislature, Sen. Bill Larkin still likes to share good news. So when he was able to secure a $40,000 grant for the Cornwall-on-Hudson Police Department, the senator picked up the phone and called the chief.
“Are you sitting down?” Mr. Larkin asked before he identified himself. As a matter of fact, Chief Steve Dixon was sitting down. He was driving to work on Route 207 — not far from the senator’s office. “Is it all right if I stop in?” the chief asked.
A few minutes later, he came through the door and shook hands with his benefactor. “We’ve been trying to upgrade our equipment,” the chief said, “and this is going to be a major addition.”
It was 10 a.m. and Sen. Larkin was getting ready for his third appointment of the morning. He’s third in the legislature in length of service, and at 89 he’s the oldest member of either house. But his staff still claims that he meets with more people than any other senator.
His agenda for July 11 included a newspaper interview for The Cornwall Local and the News of the Highlands. One of the first topics of discussion was road surfaces and the need for improvement. The senator said that the DOT has plans for Route 32 and that the road from Washington Gate to Route 9W in the Town of Highlands will be upgraded.
Mr. Larkin was optimistic about a bill he introduced in the Senate that would give towns the authority to accept or reject proposals to install pipelines within their borders. The senator expected the bill to pass in the Senate, but said he couldn’t speak for the Assembly.
He also referred to a Program Bill that Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently submitted to both houses. It’s a bill that has to be addressed in its entirety. The legislators can’t add to it or take anything out of it.
The bill would rename the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor for Sen. Larkin, who served 23 years in the Army and still feels the effect of the frostbite he suffered in Korea. While the senator is honored, he opposes the recommendation. “We had 2 million people killed or wounded in combat,” he said, “and another 8,000 were missing in action. We shouldn’t designate the hall for any one person.”
The senator spent a few minutes reminiscing about his military career. “23 years taught me a lot,” he acknowledged. “The main lesson was to take care of the troops.”
Now instead of troops, he has constituents, but the principle is the same. “If you take care of the community,” he said, “things will work out for you.”
The Cornwall-on-Hudson Police Department will use the Larkin grant to replace a 2006 Dodge Charger with a Ford Interceptor SUV. The new vehicle is more gas efficient, and has more storage space — which is important since police carry more equipment than in the past.
“I’m very appreciative of the senator and the state,” Chief Steve Dixon said. “This is a big deal for us.”