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I just wanted to add my heartfelt thanks and well wishes to Richard Higgins after his twelve years of service on the Hall County Board Of Education. Richard's balanced approach to his chairmanship included the quiet humility to put the needs of others first while standing firm on important issues faced by our board.
Personally, he encouraged me in ways for which I will be forever grateful. I would not have imagined the number of "attaboys" and positive words that I received from Richard when I was a new board member in my first term. On quite a few occasions as emotions ran high with issues such as redistricting, he would give some much needed encouragement.
He had a habit of consistently expressing his appreciation of others, and that's a rare quality today. I might get a phone call at my office, or he would simply catch me after a board meeting for no other reason than just to tell me to "hang in there, you're doing well. I appreciate you."
Richard successfully led the Hall County BOE through many years of changing circumstances and shifting demographics. He has a quiet strength and wisely navigated some waters that were less than calm. Richard is also a leader who knows how to disagree without being disagreeable.
I'm proud to say I was on the same page with Richard on the majority of the issues. But on the rare occasion when I wasn't, I felt just as comfortable walking to the parking lot with him after the meeting knowing there would not even be a hint of hard feelings. He encouraged individuals to voice opposing views if they had one.
In a world where anyone who runs for office is automatically suspect, Richard gained the respect and admiration of leaders of our county and state. What you see with Richard is what you get. No pretense. No deception. Just Richard, and that's a good thing.
I know the speculation, but I don't buy into the notion that Richard was defeated in the primary because of specific votes or decisions that he did or did not make. If Hall County was upset with Richard, then they should be upset with me and others as well. Richard simply lost to an extremely popular educator, Bill Thompson, who would have been hard to beat in any situation.
I've appreciated and respected Bill for many years. He is a very good man and I look forward to serving along side him.
Richard Higgins will continue to be a success in whatever direction he takes, public or private. Richard, we appreciate your service, your kindness, your knowledge of the issues, and your steadiness at the wheel. Blessings to you and your family as you look ahead.
Hall County Board of Education, Post 2 (South Hall)