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Kay Ivey will seek another term as Alabama governor

At 76, Ivey said her health is good and promises prosperity for the state.
Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 9:32 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WTVY) - Hoping to lead Alabama for a few more years, Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday announced in a video message that she will seek another term.

If successful—and she is the favorite---Ivey would punctuate a public service career that has spanned decades.

It included positions as Alabama House of Representatives’ clerk, state treasurer and lieutenant governor, elected to the latter in 2010.

Ivey’s political career could have ended after a second term as lieutenant governor had there not been a scandal.

Governor Robert Bentley, her predecessor, became embroiled in a controversy involving a romantic relationship he had with one of his top aides. Eventually, that forced him to resign.

In April 2017, Kay Ivey strolled into the Capitol and took the governor’s oath of office, minutes after Bentley’s disgraceful departure.

She promised to “steady the ship” ---a reference to Bentley’s unsettling “luv-gov” affair and his tumultuous relationship with the state legislature.

Her “ship” phrase resonated with Alabamians and catapulted Ivey’s approval ratings to among the highest of any governor in the nation. It became her go to slogan in the 2018 campaign.

Her folksy down-home persona and southern drawl helped her to victory in the Republican primary without a runoff and, in deep red Alabama, she handily defeated her Democratic rival in the general election.

After taking office for that full term, Ivey pushed a controversial gas tax increase. She lured bi-partisan support and lawmakers approved the six-cent a gallon hike earmarked to improve Alabama highways and bridges.

She reluctantly made tough decisions in response to coronavirus, sometimes drawing stiff criticism. Among her most unpopular directives was one temporarily closing most Alabama businesses, a decision she now regrets.

Her mask order in response to COVID-19 also drew criticism, with some challenging her authority to issue that health order. Lawsuits seeking to strip her of that authority went nowhere.

Most political observers believed Ivey, who is 76, would serve her current term, then retire. Her 2019 announcement that she suffered from cancer fueled that speculation.

However, by early 2020, doctors had declared her cancer free and, not long after, came whispers about another four-year term.

Kay Ivey, the only child of a World War II veteran, was born in Camden, a rural town 70 miles west of Montgomery.

She attended Auburn University, after which she had a brief career as a teacher and banker. She also worked at the Alabama Commission on Higher Education before landing more lucrative positions.

Ivey is an ardent admirer of Governor Lurleen Wallace, the only other woman to serve Alabama as governor.

She has no opposition for the Republican nomination.

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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