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Richard Lewis set to retire as highway department head

CHAZY - Richard "Dick" Lewis has enjoyed a long career with the town of Chazy, but now he's moving on.

Lewis, who currently serves as the town highway superintendent, will retire June 30 from the position he's held since 2006. However, his service with the town dates back much further than that.

"I started out as a town assessor," recalled Lewis. "I ran for office back in 1979 and started in 1980."

It was in that position that Lewis said he learned one thing.

"Everybody wasn't always happy with their assessment," he said, laughing. "And, some still aren't."

Though the job of placing a value on a taxpayer's property can be one that has the potential of causing friction between the assessor and townspeople, Lewis said he doesn't recall ever having an issue with anyone over an assessment he gave.

"I really can't complain," Lewis said. "I've had a pretty good rapport with people in the town of Chazy. I never really had any knock down, drag out battles. And, I think that's because when I was an assessor I always tried to be fair and straight up with people."

Eventually, Lewis decided to try his hand at overseeing the town highway department. In 2005, after retiring from his town assessor job, he ran for office - and won.

"It was a three-way race," Lewis recalled. "I was a Republican running against a Democrat incumbent and an Independent. Luckily, I ended up with the win."

And, he did again in 2009, landing a second four-year term.

Though his term won't run out until Dec. 31, 2013, Lewis said he decided to step down from his position to focus more on his own business, Lewis Excavating.

"I've put it on the back burner for awhile, and I had to make a decision to either keep my job with the highway department or focus on my business," explained Lewis. "And, I've had my business since 1973. I didn't want to let it go."

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