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Editorial: Anders, Fuller, Gogue embrace the new year - and beyond
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Editorial: Anders, Fuller, Gogue embrace the new year - and beyond

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Jay Gogue office speaking

Auburn University President Jay Gogue looks back on the pandemic and ahead to the university’s future in his office on Dec. 17, 2021, in Auburn, Ala.

Last week, Opelika-Auburn News reporters talked to community leaders about what they hope to accomplish this year and what they’re excited about. As we kick off 2022, let’s highlight some of those things.

Auburn Mayor Ron Anders said he’s looking forward to “the continued return to normal life for our citizens and our children.” Like so many of us, he’s enjoyed a return to watching the games of area sports teams and performances in local arts venues.

“I’m also excited about the potential for new business in this town,” he said, “and for new citizens in this town and continued growth in our manufacturing center and the continued development of East Alabama Health on Auburn University’s campus.”

He’s also proud of the Town Creek inclusive playground, a project he championed.

Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller had this to say: “Gosh, I’m just excited that our future is so bright. I’m not just talking about 2022, but looking down the road five to 10 years from now. ...”

He mentioned growth in Opelika City Schools, with plans for a new school for ninth grade in the works.

“At some point,” he said, “we’re going to have to build a fifth firehouse and we’ve got to continue to improve transportation. We have a couple of transportation projects that are on the drawing board now that are being designed.”

As for Auburn University President Jay Gogue, he kicked off private fundraising with a strong autumn campaign and is looking forward to continuing those efforts.

Gogue, who is wrapping up his second stint as AU president, is also looking forward to a second retirement.

“My ending role,” he said, “would be as soon as they name the next president to really spend some time trying to onboard them, give them a bit of advice and then disappear. You need to be away because the new person needs to run the show.”

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers, our area is experiencing massive growth, of which Fuller rightly says, “We have to be careful in planning.”

The strength of these leaders has been to look beyond their own tenure and to set their sights on the distant future.

It is bright.

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