A large group of community and business leaders gathered on the campus of Gadsden State Cherokee Wednesday morning for the presentation of the “2018 Richard Lindsey Economic Development Award of Excellence” – which has been established by the County’s Industrial Development Authority in order to “honor and recognize business leaders who have made great strides in economic development and industry in Cherokee County,” – with the first to receive the award, named in his honor, being Richard Lindsey.
Jason Dawson the Cherokee County Industrial Development Authority Chairman welcomed those in attendance; he was followed by Jimmy Durham – Executive Director of the DeKalb County IDA who spoke on his long-term working relationship with Richard Lindsey and the importance of having a viable economic development program; Gene Cleveland, who is the Assistant Vice President of KTH/Leesburg, paid tribute to Lindsey’s efforts in bringing both jobs and educational opportunities to the area, including KTH and Gadsden State Cherokee.
Reverend Melvyn Salter gave an eloquent overview of Lindsey’s career in politics – paying a heartfelt tribute to Lindsey’s 35 years spent improving the lives of those around him, and in paving the way for future generations as well.
Afterwards Luanne Hayes, Gadsden State Cherokee Campus Director and also the Economic Development Director, presented Mr. Lindsey with the well-deserved award.
Following the ceremony, we asked him to share his feelings on the honor:
We also asked what he would miss most about his career in politics:
When asked what the future held in store he replied that he had plenty to keep him busy – specifically “…a grandbaby, a new gin, and a lot of cotton to grow” – so, it doesn’t sound like he’s planning on letting the grass grow under his feet anytime soon.
State Rep. Richard Lindsey To Retire From Legislature
Centre, AL – State Rep. Richard Lindsey, D-Centre, announced today that he will not seek re-election to the Alabama House of Representatives next year, after having served in the state Legislature since 1983.
“I truly love serving the people of my district, and making this decision was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” said Rep. Lindsey. “I wrestled with this decision for months. I turned to God’s word for guidance and the third chapter of Ecclesiastes came to mind: ‘To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven…’ These words helped me find peace with the decision that required divine guidance.”
Elected when he was only 27 years old, Rep. Lindsey is currently seventh in seniority in the Alabama Legislature, and has represented Cherokee County longer than any other representative in state history.
“Richard is leaving some really big shoes to fill,” said Rep. Craig Ford (Gadsden). “When you think of all the things Richard has done for education and creating jobs – not just in Cherokee County but for the entire state – you just can’t replace someone like that. We have been very fortunate to have Richard in the Legislature all these years. He’s certainly earned his right to retire, but I sure do hate it for the people of our area because, now more than ever, we need people of his integrity and caliber in the Legislature.”
During his tenure in office, Rep. Lindsey served for ten years as chairman of the Education Finance and Appropriations Committee, which was responsible for writing the education budget. He served for three terms as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and also served on several regional and national legislative committees.
Rep. Lindsey said he is most proud of what he helped accomplish for jobs, agriculture, education and economic development over his years in office.
“As education budget chairman, I helped pass the Rainy Day Fund that has protected our schools during proration, as well as a billion dollar bond issue for school construction (the largest in state history). I also sponsored the incentives package that helped bring Hyundai to Montgomery, worked to bring the KTH plant to Cherokee County, and Southwire to Cleburne County.”
Rep. Lindsey also played a key role in bringing Gadsden State Community College’s Cherokee Center to Cherokee County, calling it the “crown jewel of his career.”
“This facility has changed the lives of many people in our area. Many have received a college education, gained invaluable training, and found employment opportunities that otherwise would have never happened.”
Rep. Lindsey has also worked to improve state infrastructure by expanding rural water systems, installing new communication systems, updating volunteer fire departments and rescue squads, expanding HWY 9 to four lanes in Heflin, working to four lane HWY 411 from Leesburg to Gadsden, building a new airport for Cherokee County and Piedmont, and streamlining county government by combining offices and creating a one stop tag office to serve the public promptly and efficiently.
Rep. Lindsey said he will miss the camaraderie of serving the Legislature and the friendships he has built during his time in office, but that he is looking forward to spending more time with his family, farm and agribusiness.
“I’m proud of my service, and want to let the people of Cherokee, Cleburne, Calhoun and DeKalb Counties know how thankful I am to have had the opportunity to serve you all these years,” said Rep. Lindsey. “I’m sad to close this chapter of my life, but I’m looking forward to taking on some new challenges and continuing to serve our community in new ways.”