August 27th, 2010

Last Thursday, August 19, many members of APP’s staff and I attended the Fourth Annual Bailey Thomson Awards Luncheon in Tuscaloosa.

The event convened folks from around the state who are passionate about reforming the antiquatedAlabama Constitution of 1901, which is not only the longest constitution of any democracy in the world, but also has set up a tax structure and political environment which makes it difficult for the poor to emerge from poverty.

It was great to hear our friends and colleagues including David Mathews, Kate Nielsen, Ed Gentle,Lenora Pate, Hill Carmichael, Audrey Salgado, Melanie Jeffcoat, and APP board member Mark Berte talk about their passion for rewriting our state constitution.

But what inspired me most was the group of people by whom I was sitting.  By luck, I sat at the table belonging to the late Bailey Thomson’s wife Kristi. Bailey started the modern Alabama Constitutional Reform Movement in 2000, and the day’s lunch was in his honor.

Bailey Thomson, founder of Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform, died in 2006.

Unlike many people in the room, the Thomsons weren’t discussing legislative strategy to call for a constitutional convention, or talking about the gubernatorial race, or reflecting on the greatness of the man that they knew as a husband, father, and uncle.

They were working through the logistics of taking the kids to multiple open houses for school, what the weekend was looking like, and the fact that they were so excited to host an exchange student from Kenya over the next year. They were ordinary people, with ordinary issues – as was Bailey Thomson. He also happened to have an extraordinary talent to write, to reveal, and to advocate for Constitutional Reform.

I think what we need to move the Constitutional Reform movement forward in Alabama is more people like I believe Mr. Thomson was—an ordinary person with extraordinary talents to contribute.

We all have talents, and using them together is the only way we will discover what’s possible in Alabama. Whether the issue is reforming the 1901 Constitution, increasing food security, or improving educational attainment, the only people who will ultimately change these systems are normal Alabama citizens using their talents for the greater good.

  • Connect to the Alabama constitutional reform movement at constitutionalreform.org
  • Learn more about Bailey Thomson’s writings and teachings here
  • Tell us about ordinary people doing extraordinary things in Alabama

Posted by Will Thomas