COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Crimson Tide pride will soon be available for display on the roads in Buckeye territory.
A year ago, Rep. Adam Bird (R-New Richmond) introduced a bill in the Ohio House that would create a University of Alabama license plate for the state. His persuasive testimony during that introduction caught the attention of the masses and seemingly swayed the hearts in the form of votes by his legislative colleagues.
“I’m very thankful to be able to have legislation like this in Ohio and to have colleagues that are willing to listen and consider views … [that] might be divisive,” Bird said.
That individual bill didn’t go forward, but the legislation made its way into HB 291, which was signed into law this week by Gov. Mike DeWine. It also allows for a Circleville Pumpkin Show, Little Brown Jug, and Marshall University specialty plates in addition to Alabama.
The plate and subsequent scholarship fund that it will benefit from through its purchase are in honor of Bird’s father, Ron.
Ron Bird attended Alabama on a football scholarship and played there under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and alongside quarterback Joe Namath. Together, they won a national championship in 1964. Rep. Bird said that scholarship changed the directory of his entire family’s lives.
“I grew up in Ohio, and I am forever a fan of Ohio State football,” Bird told House Transportation Committee during the legislation’s original introduction. “But I am also forever grateful for the educational opportunity that was afforded my father by the University of Alabama and the change it made in the lives of my family.”
“This bill [will] just generate a little bit extra revenue to provide some scholarship money for a student who wants to go to Alabama from the state of Ohio,” he added in an interview with NBC4 on Friday.
As for his father, who is a member of the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame and described as a”legend in South Southwestern Ohio” by Rep. Bird, he was worried people were going to be mad at his son for the plate.
“He said, ‘You sure you want to do that you’re gonna get in trouble?'” Bird said. “But you know, my mom is the one who’s really excited. And she’s the one who’s a really big Alabama fan.”
You can watch Rep. Bird’s full interview with NBC4’s Kristine Varkony in the video player below.