Gov. Riley’s trend offers confidence in UWA nominees

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 23, 2004

If two of Gov. Bob Riley’s nominees for the University of West Alabama Board of Trustees are indicative of all five nominees, Riley has hit a home run.

The selection of John Northcutt and Ken Tucker indicates a concerted effort by the Governor to choose board members who have unimpeded vision and a stern commitment to fairness.

Obviously, we like the selection of Northcutt and Tucker because they both reside in Demopolis. As the hometown newspaper, it would seem simple to tie our endorsement of these two men to their street addresses; but that superficial conclusion does not apply here.

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Northcutt — chairman and CEO of Robertson Banking Co. — has proven, on a consistent basis, his ability to serve the people who ask him to serve. His leadership of and vision for Robertson Bank indicates the quality of a person who methodically works toward improvement. His willingness to work for economic and social development in Demopolis demonstrates the trait of an apolitical person who keeps an eye on the bigger picture. And those who know him surely understand Northcutt’s quiet candor, which breeds unparalleled trust.

While Tucker and Northcutt share many of the same traits, Tucker does have a political background. As a member of the Marengo County Commission — and his firm stance on many governmental issues — Tucker could be considered the most political of Riley’s nominees. Then again, if we’re to split hairs, Tucker is an elected Democrat, debunking any thoughtful partisan discussion.

Rather, we believe Tucker’s nomination reflects well on Riley because of the honesty and prudence Tucker demonstrates in his present leadership position. When Tucker faces a challenge among fellow politicians, he measures his words well and — without fail — always favors a solution over an argument. He works, and works hard, for those who ask him to lead. And most important, Tucker understands leadership does not come with an assembled set of blinders. He sees the big picture, no matter what the issue.

Along with Northcutt and Tucker, Riley nominated Montgomery businessmen Foy Tatum and Thomas Ballow Jr., and Tuscumbia health care executive Margaret Lovett. Because of their distance from our region, it is difficult to judge their records in terms of public service. However, if those three are anything like Northcutt and Tucker, Gov. Riley has assembled an excellent slate of nominees.