FLORENCE, Ala. - On Thursday, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walt Maddox made his first public appearance after grasping the nomination. He spoke to the Alabama Democratic caucus in Florence about a number of solutions to several problems in Alabama. Maddox focused on corruption following the news that Representative Ed Henry was indicted on federal fraud charges. He told reporters it is time for a change in Alabama leadership.
"The last eight years Alabama has continually stayed at 47th, 48th, 49th, and 50th while corruption has absolutely run like a cancer. That disease has caused the downfall of a Governor, the house speaker, the house majority leader," said Maddox.
In 2017, Governor Robert Bentley resigned and pleaded guilty to two charges. His resignation followed the revelation that Bentley may have misused state funds to further an affair with his top political aide Rebekah Mason.
That same year, ex-house majority leader Micky Hammon pleaded guilty to felony mail fraud. In 2016, former Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard was found guilty of 12 felony ethics charges. Hubbard used the power of his office to improperly benefit his companies and clients to try and obtain $2.3 million worth of work.
"The current leadership that has been in power for decades. She has sat there and not addressed any of these issues specifically. All we have heard in the last two years while corruption has shown its face in Montgomery is silence. That is not leadership. That is not leadership and Alabama deserves better," said Maddox.
In many political campaign ads, Governor Kay Ivey says she doesn't tolerate corruption, adding that under her leadership she's been able to "steady the ship." But Maddox doesn't buy it.
"It just cannot be tolerated. And when it happens you should use the pulpit of the governorship to speak out against it. What you don't do is sign house bill 317 which opened the door for even more corruption in the state of Alabama," the Democratic nominee said.
Ivey signed House Bill 317 into law in 2018. The law ended the requirement of economic developers to register as lobbyists. If elected, Maddox says he would propose to get rid of the law because he says the people of Alabama deserve more transparency.
WHNT reached out to Governor Ivey regarding Maddox's comments. We have not yet heard back from her office or campaign staff.