It’s more than a month until the filing period for a number of state elected positions opens but Ron Higgins of West Richland has again signaled his desire to become Washington’s top education official.
Higgins is one of six who have registered as candidates with the Public Disclosure Commission for state superintendent, according to the state agency’s records. He is the only candidate from Eastern Washington at this time.
This isn’t Higgins’ first time pursuing the seat. He unsuccessfully ran against now-outgoing state superintendent Randy Dorn in 2012, and also pursued seats on the Richland School Board in recent years.
Higgins told the Herald that he’s still invested in education and committed to his past platform, which included local control of education, a focus on civics and elimination of the social engineering he says takes place in schools.
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“I have to take action that I think needs to be done,” he said.
A former Marine who has worked for Energy Northwest and the U.S. Department of Energy, Higgins became a substitute teacher about six years ago. He has regularly cited his experiences in the classroom when seeking office, noting that most teachers work very hard but many students are behind, particularly when it comes to understanding government, and their role and rights as U.S. citizens.
Higgins has railed against the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, which pertain to math and language arts, calling it a federal takeover of education.
“I won’t be micromanaging anyone. I’m for local control,” he said.
Candidate Ron Higgins opposes implementation of the Common Core State standards, has been outspoken on social issues, saying he would overhaul sex education, fight drug and alcohol use by students and wants to remove “gay” organizations from schools.
However, Higgins has been outspoken in the past on social issues, saying he would overhaul sex education — emphasizing the importance of marriage as being between a man and a woman — and the dangers of sexual experimentation. In addition to fighting drug and alcohol use by students, he wants to remove “gay” organizations from schools.
He also drew attention in 2013 when he handed out Bibles outside Kennewick’s Horse Heaven Hills Middle School when he was running for the Richland School Board. He said in response to that incident that his running for school board does not limit his First Amendment rights, but that he wouldn’t seek to proselytize in schools if elected.
Higgins garnered only a little more than 15 percent of the vote in the 2012 primary when he faced off against Dorn, but that still put him in second place and ahead of the three other challengers.
Dorn picked up about 56 percent of the vote.
He lost to Richland School Board member Heather Cleary in 2013, 43 percent to her 57 percent, and lost again by that same margin to board member Rick Donahoe in November.
Dorn isn’t running for re-election and there’s already a crowded field for the position.
Other candidates who’ve registered include Robin Fleming of Seattle, who has worked as a school nurse, educator and administrator; former assistant state superintendent Erin Jones of Seattle; current assistant state superintendent Gilbert Mendoza of Olympia; Chris Reykdal of Tumwater, an associate director for the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges; and Larry Seaquist of Gig Harbor, a former Democratic state representative.