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Bowing Out: Tucker pulls his name from UWA board appointment

A promotion, a devotion to his county and maybe an effort to resolve statewide political controversy has led one nominee for the University of West Alabama Board of Trustees to withdraw his name from consideration.

Demopolis resident and Marengo County Commissioner Ken Tucker met with Gov. Bob Riley on Thursday and told Riley that he had decided to step aside from the possible UWA board post.

In December 2003, the terms of five members of the divided UWA board ended, and on Jan. 21, Riley announced his five selections. Along with Tucker, Riley selected Robertson Banking Co. president John Northcutt, Foy Tatum, Thomas Ballow and Margaret Lovett.

When the Alabama Legislature convened on Feb. 3, the Senate confirmations committee immediately selected Northcutt, Ballow and Lovett. However, E.B. McClain, chairman of the committee, skipped over the names of Tucker and Tatum.

McClain, along with State Sen. Charles Steele, suggested Riley’s appointments were not diverse enough. The state senators held firm on that principal, which may have prompted Riley to immediately nominate Rev. Kervin Jones of Greensboro to the position vacated on Thursday.

Tucker’s withdrawal comes on the heels of the new UWA board’s first meeting earlier this week. At that meeting, Riley told members of the board, and more than 100 who gathered to hear the proceedings, that he would work to bring “the family back together.”

In a February interview, Tucker said he was supportive of the efforts to bring diversity to public arena, but he also suggested that he didn’t enjoy being caught in the political fights of Montgomery.

“I don’t like very much being used as a political pawn to further somebody’s agenda, but that’s how the game is played, and I understand that,” Tucker said. “My only interest in this thing is in helping the university move forward in a positive and progressive manner…”

Tucker also said he earlier discussed dropping out of the nomination process, but was urged not to do so.

“I talked with [Dr. Richard Holland]… and I said, ‘Look, if it’s in the best interest of the university that I gracefully exit the process, I’ll be happy to do so,'” Tucker said. “[Holland] said, ‘Absolutely not.’ They’re solidly behind me.”

Though support seemed strong at UWA, other professional circumstances may have contributed to Tucker’s decision to bow out of the nomination process.

Earlier this week, Weyerhaeuser Company’s Pulp and Paper Manufacturing group announced that Tucker had been named the new training coordinator for the company. In that job, Tucker will coordinate the training of all Weyerhaeuser operations in both the United States and Canada.

Efforts to reach Tucker before press time Thursday night were unsuccessful.