By Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey
In April of 2011, Alabama was shaken by one of the worst tornado outbreaks in our states’ history. Citizens of Alabama were faced with tragedy, homes were shattered, businesses were shut down, and the loss of life was unimaginable. Even though the effects were devastating, the camaraderie of neighbors was more evident than ever. Strangers became friends, and individuals worked together as one. The atmosphere was heavy, but there was a strength that was undeniable. Despite the chaos, Governor Bentley displayed calm and steady leadership that was the jump start to the beginning of Alabama’s remarkable recovery.
During Tuscaloosa’s difficult period of rebuilding, The University of Alabama’s football team claimed the National Football Championship for the second time in the past three years. Even when off field challenges faced the team, the spirit of the team members and its fans helped propel them to claim the BCS National Championship.
Even now, the camaraderie between citizens has not faded. At the end of this month, Bo Jackson, a former Auburn football player, is leading a group on a 5-day, 300-mile charity bike ride through some of the areas hardest hit by last year’s storms. Some of his fellow bike riders will include celebrities such as Lance Armstrong and Cam Newton. The “unity ride” as Bo calls it, will begin in Henagar on April 24 and will finish up in Tuscaloosa on April 28 with the main goal of raising $1 million dollars for the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund. If you would like to donate to the cause and continue to help your fellow Alabamians, please visit www.bobikesbama.com.
In just one years’ time, Alabama’s economy has begun to thrive. According to a recent report from the state Department of Commerce, there was a 9.3 percent increase in the number of new jobs announced for the state and an 87.7% increase in announced capital investment in 2011. Also during 2011, seventy new companies announced plans to locate in Alabama, creating 4,879 jobs, and 313 companies already located in Alabama announced expansions, complete with 12,369 jobs. Alabama’s exports also surged to new levels, reaching $17.9 billion which was up more than 15% over 2010 and a record high for the state.
These numbers not only compliment the citizens of Alabama, but they speak volumes of its leadership. I am thankful that Governor Bentley, President Pro Tem Del Marsh, and Speaker Mike Hubbard have tirelessly worked to get keep our economic engine running. Due to their leadership, there have been several job creation and economic incentive bills passed during the 2012 Legislative Session, and several more are in the works. Our commitment to economic expansion remains a top priority.
In short, even in difficult and adverse situations, Alabama’s citizens continue to prove they are both strong and charitable. Together we are getting Alabama back on her feet and facing a brighter tomorrow.
I am honored by the confidence you vested in me by electing me as your lieutenant governor and am well aware that public service is not a right, but a privilege. The most successful elected officials are those who hear from and listen to folks back home. My office stands ready to welcome your comments and prepared to respond to your concerns. Please feel free to contact us at 334-242-7900.