MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — More than two dozen volunteer lobbyists spread out over the State House to lobby for UAB Football Tuesday in Montgomery. It’s a diverse group of UAB alumni, former employees, and people who just want their kids and grandkids to have the chance to experience college life at UAB with football as part of package.
These are not paid lobbyists. Many of the volunteers had to take the day off work to meet early in the morning and caravan all the way from Pelham to Montgomery.Organized with lists of State Representatives in key positions, Blazers supporters spread out through the hallways of state government hoping to bump into key lawmakers, occasionally bumping into someone else.They want to show their appreciation to lawmakers who have already pledged their support and to debate the issue with lawmakers who haven’t.
Whenever they found a supporter of their cause they extended a warm handshake and hearty thank you, whether it was Rep. Jack Williams, Republican, Vestavia Hills, who is sponsoring the UAB Football legislation, or Rep. Jack Williams, Republican, Mobile, who is supporting it.
“We just want your support and you’ve already offered it and, and we just want to thank you for it and we will appreciate your help in encouraging others to join us too and we’ll keep on coming back. So you’re going to see us more and more and more,” said Kris Findlay to Rep. Jack Williams of Mobile.
“I have several from my area that’s voiced their opinion on it too. Plus I get the other Jack Williams’ responses sent to me too. So I get to hear a lot of it,” said Rep. Jack Williams of Mobile.
In all seriousness their mission to bring back UAB Football and change the makeup of the UA System Board of Trustees won’t happen without a fight.The volunteers with Bring Back Blazers Football have ties all over the state, and they’re determined to do what they can.
“I have several from my area that’s voiced their opinion on it too,” said Rep. Jack Williams of Mobile. “We’ve got a lot of graduates from up there in that area so just seeing people come around asking about it proves they’ve been wronged. “
Blazers Football supporter Edward Sims wants to show UA System and UAB Administrators that the backlash over cutting football is not going away.
“I think initially it may have been thought to be a two day news cycle. It turns out that there’s a lot of passion involved a lot of people see this for what it is that is you know it’s just an unfair system,” said Sims.
Peggy Eddington told us she rarely asks for time off work, but she made an exception on Tuesday to make the case for UAB Football in Montgomery.
“I want my kids to be proud to be Blazers. And I want my granddaughter to consider going to UAB,” said Eddington.
Rep. Jack Williams Republican, Vestavia Hills was encouraged by the visitors and says their message will be well received.
“I’m excited that they’re here I think I think in light of the revelations of last week about the public’s being misled there’s going to be greater interest in supporting UAB legislation,” said Rep. Jack Williams of Vestavia Hills.
All 3 bills they’re pushing have been assigned to the house education committee. Football supporters tell WIAT they’re confident they will come up for a vote- but they’re planning to keep up the pressure on state lawmakers by encourage municipalities to pass resolutions of support for the UAB football program.
We reached out to the UA System for comment today, but a spokesperson declined to comment on the legislation or the volunteer lobbyists. We also reached out to UAB administrators via the University Public Relations Department, but received no response.
Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News