By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, February 13, 2017, new Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) addresses reporters for her first press conference as Alabama’s Governor.
When pressed by reporters, Gov. Ivey would not commit to whether she would run for the office in 2018 or not. Ivey told reporters that she had months to make that determination and her focus now was on the affairs of the State.
Gov. Ivey was asked also if she was going to set a new special election date for the US Senate seat vacated by Sen. Jeff Sessions when he was confirmed as US Attorney General. Ivey said that a special election would cost $15 million and would come out of the State General Fund (SGF). Ivey was complimentary of Luther Strange and called him a man of honor.
Ivey said that she did not support breaking up the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). She insisted that the concept behind consolidation of the police functions of Alabama was sound; but said that the agency has not had good management and promised to find somebody capable to lead the agency.
Ivey said that she did not support Medicaid expansion; but said that that could change moving forward.
Gov. Ivey expressed support for the controversial prison construction bill that is moving through the legislature and said that she hopes that it can move out of the House.
Ivey also said that she supported the stalled ethics reform bill.
The Alabama Political Reporter talked with Alabama Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) and asked him if his own plans for exploring running for Governor would be altered by the possibility of Kay running for the office.
Zeigler said no. Three of the candidates for Governor: Kay, Tommy Tuberville, and John McMillan have strong Auburn ties. I am the only one with strong University of Alabama ties and I could turn this in to the Iron Bowl of Alabama Politics. Zeigler wished Kay Ivey much success as Governor because that would be good for the State.
Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh (R) was the first Republican candidate to declare openly for the office. On Thursday former Morgan County Commissioner and 2014 gubernatorial candidate, Stacy George (R) launched his campaign for the office. Marriage equality activist Bruce Countryman is the only Democrat who has announced his candidacy though former Congressman Parker Griffin (D) and State Representative Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) have also been mentioned as possible candidates on the Democratic side.
Kay Ivey became Governor of Alabama on Monday after embattled Governor Robert Bentley (R) resigned after the Alabama Ethics Commission referred four charges to the Montgomery County DA for possible action and the House Judiciary Committee began hearings on impeaching the Governor. Bentley was known nationally and internationally as “the Luv Guv” following revelations of the sex scandal with top political advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason that ended his 50 year marriage and ultimately led to his ouster as Governor.