Thursday, August 11, 2016

Cattaraugus County appoints new legislator

LITTLE VALLEY – The Cattaraugus County Legislature Wednesday appointed Frank Higgins of Olean to fill the vacancy in the eighth legislative district, which includes all of the City of Olean, caused by the resignation of Matthew Keller. Higgins, a lifelong resident of Olean and active member of the community, was sworn into office by Cattaraugus County Judge Ronald Ploetz. County Legislature Chair Paula Stockman said, “Our legislative caucus interviewed three candidates that were interested in being appointed. All three candidates brought something to the table, and each had valuable experiences and ideas. Similar to many situations, there was only one opening and a decision had to be made to choose the person we felt was the most qualified. When talking with County residents, everyone always stresses the need to incorporate a younger generation of energetic, passionate and civic minded taxpayers into local government, and I believe that is exactly what we’ll get in Frank Higgins.” Newly appointed Legislator Frank Higgins said, “I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to represent the hardworking people of the City of Olean on the Legislature. As a lifelong resident of Olean and Cattaraugus County, I care deeply about its people, businesses, history, and continued success and vitality. I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reduce the tax burden, spur job growth and generate economic prosperity.” Higgins stated that he plans to run this fall in the special election to fill the remaining three years of the term. “There has been a lot of talk about a gentlemen’s agreement in terms of who gets appointed to the Legislature should there be a vacancy,” Chairwoman Stockman said. “We’ve dealt with several vacancies this year, and it is important that we do what is in the best interest of County taxpayers. We took steps to ensure that all interested parties had an opportunity to be heard. We made reforms to the process, meeting with each interested candidate to talk with them about their goals, interests and abilities, before a decision was made. This legislative body has business to conduct on behalf of all of the people of the county. This is not the time or place for political theater, threats of retribution, revenge or payback. Let’s get serious and get on with our work.” Frank Higgins is a small business owner. He serves as the vice-president and managing director of a mineral interest company. Frank contributes a great deal of time and effort toward charitable organizations in the greater Olean community, including: serving on the Foundation Board of Directors at the Olean City School District; as a board member of the Olean General Hospital Foundation and on the hospital’s finance and investment committees; being a trustee of the Mount View Cemetery; and director and former president of the Bartlett Country Club. Additionally, Frank chairs the Higgins Memorial Foundation Committee Fund at the Cattaraugus Regional Community Foundation, an organization which raises and distributes thousands of dollars annually to community organizations such as the Cattaraugus County SPCA, Homecare & Hospice, The Rehabilitation Center, the Child Advocacy Center and many more. Frank is the great-great grandson of former New York Governor Frank Wayland Higgins, who served as Governor in 1905-1906.