MONTGOMERY, Ala. – When Governor Kay Ivey took the helm of a troubled ship, she knew there was work to be done.
And it had to be done quickly. In Monday’s State of the State address, Ivey referenced what her predecessor, Robert Bentley, left for her to do in the way of putting a shine back on the state of Alabama.
“I wanted to restore our state’s image. To do this, the government must be efficient and transparent. With executive orders, we’ve streamlined state government, dissolved unneeded task forces, and banned lobbyists from appointments by the executive branch, ensuring more citizens have an opportunity to serve and contribute.”
It was roughly nine months ago that Governor Ivey took over for former Governor Robert Bentley. Bentley’s resignation over an alleged inappropriate relationship with an aide, and reports of retaliatory threats to subordinates marked left the state capital in turbulent waters.
But Governor Ivey says the ship, so to speak, has righted itself and the state is in much calmer waters.
“The people of Alabama desire leadership that is willing to get things done. As a result of our team approach, I am proud to report, Alabama’s economy is performing well – revenues are up, unemployment is down, economic development is on the rise and improved educational opportunities abound.”
Gov.Ivey says the state’s biggest challenge is probably the prison system and she has tasked the prison commissioner with developing a plan.
“We have commissioned comprehensive reviews to determine the compensation levels necessary to recruit and retain corrections staff. We have entered contract negotiations with a new healthcare provider to expand and improve inmate healthcare at a reasonable cost. I have instructed the Commissioner to hire a project 7 management team to help us develop a master plan, so we will be able to make smart, cost-effective decisions when addressing our outdated prison infrastructure.”
And she says the Alabama budget is in good enough shape to give state employees a raise.
“Tonight, I am proposing a pay raise for all teachers and state employees. Every day, we depend on state employees. Whether it’s a state trooper patrolling our highways, a teacher staying late to help a struggling student, or a social worker rescuing an abused child, quality state employees are essential to good government. It is long past time for us to honor their service with better pay.”
Monday’s State of the State Address was Governor Ivey’s most high profile speech. It comes at a time when a crowded field starts jockeying for position in this year’s governor’s race. Governor Ivey is running for election and is considered by many to be a Republican front-runner for the spot.