Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon expresses support for Gov. Kay Ivey amid blackface controversy


Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Governor Kay Ivey’s apology Thursday for wearing blackface during a skit while she was a student at Auburn in 1967 drew national headlines Thursday.

House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, who told Gov. Robert Bentley he should resign in 2017, stood by Bentley’s successor Friday.

McCutcheon Friday issued the following statement:

“More important than any regretful actions as a young adult is the way Kay Ivey has devoted her life to serving others over the course of the half-century since.

“Gov. Ivey and I have worked closely together on dozens of issues, and throughout that time, her only goal has been to improve the lives of all of our state’s citizens.  I believe her record reflects that fact.

“Countless Alabamians of all races, religions, and socio-economic levels have new hopes, new opportunities, and new jobs because of her efforts on their behalf.”

Alabama U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, who prosecuted two KKK members for the 1963 Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four young girls, said the current controversy presents Ivey with an opportunity to help transform Alabama.

“There is a long and painful history associated with blackface in our country. It has been used to demean and dehumanize African Americans and there is absolutely no excuse for it,” Jones said in a news release. “I appreciate the way Governor Ivey has addressed this in a straightforward manner.  Accepting responsibility while apologizing and expressing remorse are important ways to move beyond our mistakes.

“However, as you look around today you still see marginalized communities and racial disparities in almost every facet of Alabama life and it is painfully clear that we have never fully reckoned with the issues of race that continue to divide us. In fact, they are often being ignored.

“We need to continue to confront our history, especially the darkest chapters, if we are going to learn from those mistakes and move forward together. Governor Ivey now has a unique opportunity to do more than any Alabama Governor in recent memory to correct the injustices that still exist in our society. I hope she will seize it.”