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Siegelman spares taxpayer expense and embarrassment

Gov. Don Siegelman, in an emotional message Monday evening delivered what will probably be deemed as the hardest message of his career when he told Alabamians that he was withdrawing his request for a recount of the Nov. 5, 2002 gubernatorial election results.

Citing hundreds of uncounted votes in Baldwin County and other causes to change the results of the vote, Siegelman said although he felt that he would prevail, as did his attorneys, he also felt that it would simply drag the good reputation of Alabama through the mud.

The Siegelman Administration has been responsible for more progress in a single four-year term then several other governors combined, including the recruitment of Honda, Toyota, Mercedes and Hyundai to Alabama with their assembly plants n the latter of which will be located within minutes of our readership.

Also attributed to Siegelman's career as governor is the more than 1,000 school construction projects that have made good on a promise to abolish portable classrooms for Alabama's school students, and the creation of the first statewide children's health insurance coverage, regardless of income status.

Another Siegelman milestone is the statewide bridge reconstruction project passed in 2000 as Amendment One n a measure that has gone done in the history books as the largest statewide bridge improvement project in Alabama history, and has been credited with eventually eliminating more than 77,000 miles of detours traveled by Alabama school buses each day, thus ensuring safer travel for our children to school each day.

Siegelman made it clear that the lawsuits filed by Congressman Bob Riley to prevent a recount would have taken months for the courts to weed through, with each one causing another to follow in appeal n all of which would still require the Alabama Legislature to ultimately interpret in the end n a process that would cause more negative publicity then the state could bear, at a time when every second spent in furtherance of progress counted.

We salute Gov. Siegelman for his convictions, and commend him for his belief that Alabama must come first, no matter what one's personal feelings are. We also look forward to seeing more from him in the future of Alabama, and wish him and his family all the success a person of his unselfish character deserves, as he prepares to assist Governor-elect Bob Riley in a smooth transition of the state's top executive position in the coming months.