BRANFORD — Angela Higgins, widow of late 2nd Selectman Joseph Higgins Jr., took the oath of office Wednesday night to serve as her recently deceased husband’s successor on the Board of Selectmen.
“I pledge to do my best for all the citizens of Branford,” Higgins said after thanking First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove and Selectman Ray Dunbar for the appointment.
After Town Clerk Lisa Arpin administered the oath of office, with Higgins’ daughter, Michele, holding the Bible, Higgins took her seat and the board immediately got to work and resumed the meeting. Higgins will serve for the balance of her late husband’s term, which runs through Nov. 16, 2021.
The choice came despite earlier lobbying by local Democrats to name Representative Town Meeting Minority Leader Tom Brockett, D-7, to the position.
It drew praise from the one person who commented on it at the meeting, resident Wayne Cooke — who more often than not is a critic of Branford government.
“Although I disagree with most things that this administration does, that this was a very, very classy move,” Cooke, who attended via Zoom, told the board. “Angela ... is a great lady. Joe was a great guy. ... I think this was as good as you could have done to replace someone who basically was irreplaceable.”
Joe Joseph Higgins, a former Fire Department of New York official during 9/11 who later retired to Branford and served on the Board of Selectmen for 61/2 years, died on June 4.
Higgins “was serving on the ground with the leadership team during 9/11 and the loss of so many close friends weighed heavily on his heart,” Cosgrove said at the time of his Higgins’ death.
“Joe was the keynote speaker at our annual 9/11 remembrance ceremonies,” Cosgrove said. “He focused his message towards the children believing the best way to honor the lost was to teach our young people about the immense sacrifice made to save others.”