Letters to the Editor September 7, 2002

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 30, 2002

Hammett fighting for school money

Dear Editor:

A recently published letter to the editor alleging that State Representative Seth Hammett is to blame for a loss of $8.2 million in Sixteenth Section land money is erroneous and totally unfounded. This opinion is apparently being expressed by an individual who as no idea about the hard work that Speaker Hammett engaged in to protect our children's future.

When the State of Alabama began its move to take away Sixteenth Section money from Covington County, and numerous other counties in the state, Representative Hammett immediately took action to ensure that Covington County's share of the funds would be protected, There was no guarantee Covington County would ever get a penny of the money and the threat that the state might take the money from the county was very real.

Keeping in mind the state's public schools could receive overall funding cuts Representative Hammett worked with Covington County school board, state attorneys, the governor's office and state legislators to come up with a solution that would protect Covington County's funds. Without the legislation pushed by Representative Hammett, there was no guarantee Covington County would ever receive any Sixteenth Section money or and equivalent amount in bond proceeds.

The Sixteenth Section lands issuer is now being litigated in circuit court and because of my involvement in the suit, I am reluctant to comment further. However, Representative Hammett was always aware the issue might go to court and he had the keen foresight to take the safe and conservative route by trying to protect our money through legislation.

As a father I am grateful for what Representative Hammett has accomplished and I would never criticize him for cutting through the complex legislative process to take care children.

Covington County has not lost an Sixteenth Section money. If anything, it stands in the best possible position - both in court and in the state funding arena - to receive its fair share of funds as result of Representative Hammett's fine work.

Allen G. Woodard