Ulster County Legislator Richard Gerentine said without hesitation that the NYS Sen. William “Bill” Larkin [1928-2019] was “definitely” a mentor to him.
“He was very attentive to me and guided me in many different ways,” he said.
Gerentine first got to know Larkin after he graduated from college in 1975.
“I was getting involved in politics and I helped him on his campaign and we just developed a relationship over the years,” Gerentine said.
Gerentine said Larkin was a very genuine person and a politician who helped his constituents regardless of their party affiliation.
“He took everybody’s issue as important and looked into it to see what he was able to do and a lot of times he was very successful,” Gerentine said.
Gerentine said Larkin was very responsive to many people seeking his help. He said even in his latter years Larkin would continue to attend many political functions; “Two or three and sometimes four in one evening, he would go in and say hi and make his rounds and go to another one and another one. It was amazing.”
Gerentine said Larkin will be remembered for helping to solve issues for his constituents.
“If you had a problem he was the first one to go to,” Gerentine said. “Over the years he developed relationships in Albany with department heads who he was able to call directly.”
Gerentine said Larkin was particularly helpful when controversy arose with the assessed values with Dynegy.
“We met in his office with [the late NYS Assemblyman Frank] Skartados and members of the NYS Board of Assessment Review and we were able to move things along a little bit quicker than it would have taken a much longer period if he wasn’t active.” Gerentine said.
Gerentine called Larkin a true friend, as a person and as a human being.
“I think sometimes we lose sight of all that and helping people out was his true intent in life,” he said. “He was a true public servant in may different ways.”
Gerentine said he often called Larkin to get his advice and guidance on issues in New York that impacted the Mid Hudson region.
“He was there in many ways and he will be sorely missed,” Gerentine said.
Gerentine said the late Senator had a very quiet way about him, letting people have their say on a given issue, “and whatever he had to do, he took it upon himself to do...He was well liked and very respected in many different ways and for many years.”