Macon County is blessed to have some of the finest, hardest working people anywhere, and while our people are not necessarily wealthy by monetary standards, they do possess a strong commitment to family, community and serving others. You will find Macon County residents who have achieved greatness from George Washington Carver to the Tuskegee Airmen.
More important, you will find unsung heroes who also achieve greatness every day by serving in the local volunteer fire department, serving meals on wheels to our seniors, and tutoring a child of poverty who just needs a helping hand, among others. Much of the funding for those programs came from the charitable aspects of VictoryLand’s operation. Without that money many of these programs have languished. Now that VictoryLand has reopened, and the constitutionally sanctioned electronic bingo games are being played, people are eager to reap the rewards that the entire operation provides – fun, jobs, charity dollars and education money.
At its peak, VictoryLand provided our county 2300 jobs, and put over $45,000,000 into the Macon County School System between the time it opened and the time it shut down. It also provided The Alabama Education Trust Fund over $56,000,000. In a state that is perpetually in a budget crisis, and while we are still mired in the aftermath of the Great Recession, how can we allow what amounts to a political turf war deprive our education budgets those types of dollars? It’s unconscionable.
We hope that Gov. Robert Bentley will honor his campaign pledge and not allow state law enforcement officers participate in illegal raids on this legitimate place of business. He is an honorable man and I believe that he is a man of his word – who will not be swayed by a potential political battle into violating our state’s constitution, and preventing the residents of our county from making a living, hurting our most vulnerable citizens.