Auburn, Alabama team up for Amendment One
By By Dr. Thomas Meredith, Chancellor of The University of Alabama System and
Dr. William Muse, President of Auburn University
On the gridiron, the fierce rivalry between Auburn and Alabama is legendary. But when it comes to sound, progressive public policy to benefit the citizens of our great state, we stand together on common ground.
Although we take opposing sides next month for the Iron Bowl, on November 7 we will be together in voting "yes" for Amendment One. We support this important Constitutional amendment because it rises above partisan politics. Amendment One is about progress.
Our teammates in this initiative are Democrat and Republican, urban and rural, rich and poor. Amendment One has earned strong bipartisan support among Alabama legislators and carries the powerful endorsement of more than 40 business organizations and chambers of commerce. Dr. David Bronner, chief executive officer of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, says Amendment One is a sound, strategic and progressive investment policy. Attorney General Bill Pryor calls it "a safe investment for Alabama."
Why does Amendment One attract such broad support? Because it is good for all of Alabama. First, it provides a funding source for vital improvements that are essential if our state is to grow and prosper in this complex and competitive global economy. Second, Amendment One will make it possible for the Alabama Trust Funds to become stronger through a more progressive investment strategy. And, under Amendment One, the Alabama Trust Fund will be preserved and enhanced for generations to come.
Consider these diverse and far-reaching improvement projects that will become reality with the passage of Amendment One.
If you work in law enforcement or have been the victim of crime, you should vote "yes" on Amendment One. Today the backlog for DNA testing (which is critical for the prosecution of murder and rape cases) is 21 months. The delay is so long that Alabama's forensics science laboratories are in jeopardy of losing their accreditation. If that happens, such evidence won't be admissible in Alabama courts. If Amendment One is approved, the forensic lab will receive urgent upgrades. Otherwise, there are no dollars to pay for these improvements.
If you are a teacher or a parent whose child rides a school bus, you should vote "yes" on Amendment One. Every day buses must detour more than 17,000 miles to transport Alabama students to and from school because county bridges are structurally unsound and highly dangerous. These extra miles cost the state nearly $40,000 a day – money that could go to improve education. If Amendment One passes, the state can issue $50 million in bonds to provide the local match for an additional $200 million in Federal funds to fix these bridges. Without it? The general fund simply cannot afford these improvements.
If you are a farmer or depend on the agriculture and forestry industries, you should vote "yes" November 7. If the initiative is approved, $52 million in bonds will be used to build and improve animal diagnostic laboratories and research facilities at Auburn, Tuskegee and Alabama A&M. Without Amendment One, there are no dollars in the general fund for these improvements.
If Amendment One is affirmed by Alabama voters on November 7, the positive effects will sweep the entire state. From safer roads and bridges to modern ports, competitive agricultural technologies and economic development incentives, it is no wonder Amendment One is attracting strong support from even long-standing rivals.
Alabama is on a roll. We have great days ahead. But, to fully achieve our potential, we must take advantage of our opportunities and invest in our future.
With that in mind, we ask you to go to the polls on November 7 and, with the same enthusiasm with which you support your team, please support Amendment One.