Just days after disgraced House Speaker Mike Hubbard received the wound of his political life by way of 12 convictions for public corruption, some Alabama activists are trying apply some salt.
A new petition has emerged on MoveOn.org to remove his name from a street in Opelika currently called “Mike Hubbard Boulevard” and rename it “Cam Newton Run,” in a nod to one of Auburn University’s most famous alums, star NFL quarterback Cam Newton.
The street runs from the intersection of Glenn Avenue and Bent Creek Road near exit 57, which leads to Auburn University Regional Airport, where thousands of students, alums, and parents travel each year to attend school or athletic events.
“Let’s capture the Auburn spirit while depoliticizing an expected rename,” reads the petition’s headline, posted by a user known simply as Auburn Alum.
“With exit 57 serving as a prominent gateway to Auburn fans, prospective students, opponents and the like, ‘Cam Newton Run’ recognizes one of Auburn’s most famous graduates and athletes who has served as a prominent and effective ambassador for Auburn both on and off the field. This rename also serves as a way to depoliticize what may be considered by many in this community to be a painful yet imminent name change,” the appeal reads.
“WDE and thanks for the support,” the petition concludes, referring to the school’s unofficial war chant, “War Damn Eagle.”
At press time, the petition had gathered nearly 900 signatures in just two days. It has a goal of 1,000 signatures. If successful, the petition will be delivered to Auburn Mayor Bill Ham.
Then there’s the Mike Hubbard Center for Advanced Science, Innovation and Commerce at Auburn’s main campus, which houses researchers across six scientific disciplines and is a major landmark on campus. School officials there may also consider name changes.
“Naming of campus facilities is a multi-step process that ends with a decision by the Auburn Board (of Trustees),” Auburn University director of public affairs Brian Keeter told AL.com. “Auburn will consider all information and make a determination at the appropriate time.”
The idea of renaming the street after Newton has picked up significant traction from fans of the Carolina Panthers, Newton’s home in the NFL.
The potential plans to scrub Hubbard from the public consciousness of Alabama continues the precipitous decline and fall for the longtime lawmaker. In just a year’s time, Hubbard has gone from the pinnacle of power in both the Alabama statehouse and the state Republican Party to a reviled figure in many circles, even among his own partisans.
Hubbard said late last week he is still “in shock” over the dozen convictions he was slapped with over attempting to sell political influence and enrich himself and his allies using the levers of state government, and says he intends to appeal.