By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
Only in Alabama does the sitting governor introduce a former football coach as the keynote speaker at a public event.
The arrangement certainly didn’t seem to bother Gov. Kay Ivey, as she talked up former Auburn coach Pat Dye – the “coach of my alma mater,” Ivey reminded everyone – at a luncheon celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Public Safety Insurance Fund (PSIF).
“Honoring public safety officials at this event is just really important,” Ivey said. “It’s a dangerous profession that they choose for the benefit of the rest of us. You have some being shot simply for wearing the uniform, so it’s a dangerous profession.”
The PSIF, started in Montgomery and the River Region by businessmen Grant Sullivan and Jerry Wills, provides no-cost life and accidental death insurance to public servants. Since it was started in 2002, the PSIF has paid out over $500,000 to the families of 23 public servants.
“This is a great expression of how much we value them,” Ivey said of the PSIF. “The people of Alabama are certainly in the debt of those who serve in law enforcement.”
Ivey also touched on two recent actions her office has taken – signing a cyber-security compact with other states and naming the first female comptroller for the state.
The compact, signed with 37 other states, aims to coordinate efforts at protecting state data against hacks.
“Data is data, and we have cyber attacks occurring more frequently and all of that,” Ivey said. “It was something I was proud to do, because we have to protect our data.”
Ivey on Wednesday selected Kathleen Baxter, a longtime employee in the state comptroller’s office, to be the new comptroller and the first woman to serve in that role.
“Dr. Baxter has been working there a long time and I was happy to appoint to her,” Ivey said. “She’s our first female comptroller. I’m proud of her.”