Gov. Kay Ivey made history last week by taking the inaugural oath of office for Governor of The Great State of Alabama. She is the state’s second female governor and the first Republican woman elected to the position.
Ivey, 74, who had been Lieutenant Governor, automatically became Governor 21 months ago when then-Gov. Robert Bentley suddenly resigned in the midst of an impeachment investigation partly centered on his relationship with aide, Rebekah Mason.
Ivey thanked everyone for being there for the historic event and for braving the cold weather. She also spoke of dreams coming true by saying, “Like most of my predecessors, my pathway to this spot was certainly not predetermined or even likely. After all, when I was growing up in my hometown of Camden, little girls simply didn’t dream of growing up to one day be elected Governor. Alabama is a state where dreams do come true. Because in Alabama, anything is possible.”
She also pointed out fellow Wilcox County native, Jeff Sessions, former U.S. Senator and U.S. Attorney General. “A very special Alabamian and my longtime friend from Wilcox County is here today – former U.S. Senator and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions! Jeff, I am thrilled that you are on stage with me. If you’re from Wilcox County, you just never know where you’ll end up.”
She also pointed out the importance of the coming census. “My administration has already been hard at work with local and state leaders in all 67 counties to begin the tedious — but all-important task of making sure we get an accurate head count for the upcoming Census.”
“This isn’t just about the possibility of losing a seat in Congress; it’s much more important than that. It’s also about protecting our crucial Federal funding that the hard-working taxpayers of our state send to Washington.”
“As this work kicks into high gear, it is all our responsibility to make certain that every citizen is counted in the 2020 Census; that’s the only way to make certain that “Alabama counts” when it matters most.”
Ivey also paid homage to former Gov. Lurleen Wallace, Alabama’s first female governor.
“Just like all of you, I am proud to be an Alabamian.
Fifty years ago, one of my childhood heroes, Governor Lurleen Wallace, was sworn in as the first woman governor in Alabama and only the second in our nation’s history.
Although she is not with us in person, her spirit, life and legacy live on to this day. In her memory, I’ve requested that an empty chair be placed on the platform. We are honored to have her daughter Peggy with us today representing the Wallace family.”
As far as plans ahead, Gov. Ivey also referred back to former Gov. Lurleen Wallace by saying,” “In her Inaugural address, Governor Wallace called on the Alabama Legislature to, among other things, provide greater funding to build and improve our roads. Interestingly, on January 21st, 1919, when Governor Kilby was sworn in to office, during the year we celebrated our Centennial, he, too, called for a commitment to improve our roads and bridges.
Today, I follow in Governor Lurleen Wallace’s footsteps in many ways and make the same ask to the members of the Alabama Legislature. After all, if we want to compete in a 21st century global economy, we must improve our infrastructure by investing more in our roads, our bridges and our ports.
Improving our infrastructure is more than an investment in our roads and bridges; it’s an investment in economic development, public safety and local communities.
It has been nearly three decades since we last made any changes to our current funding, and the challenge has grown with the passing of time. Now is the time to increase our investment in infrastructure – now is the time to solve this problem We will have only one chance to do so. With the people’s help – and the support of the Alabama Legislature – I am confident we will do the right thing.”
That “ask” was for a tax on gasoline, a “users tax” if you will, that will go to pay for roads, bridges and infrastructure.
The state has not had an increase in the statewide gasoline tax since 1992. Legislative leaders have said they are gauging the temperature of members about a possible increase.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said last week that the governor wants “a reasonable increase in a fuel tax.” ”As you know, we haven’t had an increase since ’92. It’s been 26 years,” said Marsh, R-Anniston.
All in all it was an inspirational day in Montgomery and for the state of Alabama. In addition to the inaugural address there was a prayer service at a church, receptions throughout the area put on by newly elected officials and a fresh start to Alabama’s future.
I am glad I was able to attend. Mike Oakley for The Bibb Voice.