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Gov. Kay Ivey promises she’s healthy: “I’ve never felt better”

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — Facing reporters today in the Old House Chambers in the State Capitol, Gov. Kay Ivey promised she is healthy and capable of running the state, following a report from Alabama Political Reporter that Ivey and her staff tried to cover up a hospitalization for mini strokes in 2015.

“My health is fine. I’ve never felt better,” Ivey said. “What’s the old saying? There’s never a step too high for a high stepper.”

On Wednesday, APR published a report citing numerous sources close to Ivey who said she spent about four days in a hospital in Colorado after she became ill at an Aerospace States Association conference. The then-lieutenant governor was speaking at the convention.

Ivey, who was sworn in as governor in April, has hit the ground running in her attempt to clean up matters following former Gov. Robert Bentley’s resignation.

“If you look at our schedule, it’s pretty jam-packed and full, and we’re busy getting our hands around the activities of the state of Alabama. We’ll see if we can steady the ship and also work hard to tell the world Alabama is open for business.”

But sources have told APR Ivey has had some health issues following a series of stroke-like attacks that left her confused and disoriented at the conference in Colorado. The well-placed sources said Ivey’s security detail was told not to speak of the health problems to anyone.

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Ivey’s office has continued to deny the reports that she is currently in poor health, but have not disputed the details of the 2015 incident. They also have not addressed APR’s reports that Ivey’s top staff, specifically Chief of Staff Steve Pelham and legal counsel Bryan Taylor, have worked to keep the issues under wraps while effectively running the Governor’s Office themselves.

“I’m in great shape and eager to work and am working,” Ivey, who is now 72, said. “Thank y’all for caring enough to inquire but all is well.”

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency confirmed that Thomas “Drew” Brooks, one of the troopers who was part of Ivey’s security detail, filed for out-of-state travel reimbursement for the dates of April 15, 2015, through April 20, 2015.

The aerospace conference ended on April 17.

Because ignoring the incident would have been a violation of ALEA protocol, Brooks ignored the directive to keep the incident quiet and reported it to explain the unexpected length of his trip, which ended up stretching three days past the end of the conference.

Sources told APR’s Josh Moon that Brooks was punished for following the rules and disobeying the directive, which was reportedly given by Pelham.

Brooks was removed from the security detail team and reassigned to the driver’s license office in Troy, the sources said.

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APR’s Josh Moon and editor-in-chief Bill Britt contributed to this report.

Email Chip Brownlee at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

Chip Brownlee is a former political reporter, online content manager and webmaster at the Alabama Political Reporter. He is now a reporter at The Trace, a non-profit newsroom covering guns in America.

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