Monday, Alabama’s constitutional officers were sworn in for four year terms at a ceremony in front of the state capitol in Montgomery.
A jubilant Kay Ivey was sworn in by Alabama Associate Justice Will Sellers.
“Over the course of these past 20 months, I have felt your prayers and your love. Both have truly made a difference, and I am grateful,” Gov. Ivey said. “The scripture reminds us in Psalm 118 Verse 24, “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Indeed, today is a day to rejoice for all of Alabama!”
“Like most of my predecessors, my pathway to this spot was certainly not predetermined or even likely,” Ivey said. “Alabama is a state where dreams do come true. Because in Alabama, anything is possible. It goes without saying, I am truly honored and humbled to lead this great state. But I have not made this journey alone. To the good people of Alabama, I say thank you.”
“On the platform with me today are our current constitutional officers, Lieutenant Governor Ainsworth, Attorney General Marshall, Auditor Ziegler, Secretary of State Merrill, Treasurer McMillan and Agriculture Commissioner Pate,” Ivey said. “Also on the platform, we recognize Public Service Commissioners Jeremy Oden and Chip Beeker. The people of Alabama thank all of you for your commitment to public service and for your dedication to them. Also joining me are members of our State Board of Education sworn in today. Board Members Doctor McCarty, Doctor Richardson and West, as well as Doctor Reynolds who could not be here today.”
Ivey recognized the former Governors that were present on stage: Bob Riley, Robert Bentley, Don Siegelman, and Jim Folsom Jr. Jeff Sessions was also present and was part of the parade.
“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!” Ivey said. “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.”
“The good news on this Inauguration Day is that our budgets are strong and our financial health is good,” Ivey continued. “More Alabamians are working today than ever before and our economy continues to grow and prosper.”
“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,” Ivey said. “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. 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. I am very hopeful that 50 or 100 years from now, Governors will not have to include requests to improve our infrastructure.”
“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,” Ivey claimed. “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!”
Sources have told the Alabama Political Reporter that a two hundred page draft of a bill is being prepared that could raise fuel taxes by over 24 cents a gallon and impose a tax on all electric cars. Proponents hope to rush the bill through the legislature in the first two weeks of the legislative session in March.
“Much like our roads and bridges, our prison system, too, has been sorely neglected for decades,” Ivey said. “The poor conditions of our prisons create a risk to public safety and are placing a heavy burden on taxpayers. The status of our corrections system is an Alabama problem that must be solved by an Alabama solution. As your governor, I plan to do so. We are revitalizing our statewide corrections system by replacing costly, at-risk prison facilities. This effort will ensure that Alabama stays committed to statewide prison reform, and we will be announcing more detailed plans in the coming days.”
The Alabama Political Reporter has been told that Gov. Ivey plans to go around the legislature and sign an agreement with a private company to lease four as yet unbuilt, massive 7,000 to 9,000 prisoner new mega prisons, while closing 17 to 21 existing state prisons. The cost of the mega prisons is estimated to be at least a $billion.
“Standing here on Dexter Avenue, we are reminded of two different chapters in Alabama history: a time when the Civil War raged and 90 years later when the Civil Rights movement was inspired,” Ivey said.
“Today, I stand before you filled with optimism and eager with anticipation of what’s yet to come,” Ivey said. “More good paying jobs. Better education for our children. Roads that are the envy of the nation. But one thing is for sure…We cannot do this work alone.”
Will Ainsworth was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor by Judge Lyles Burke.
“The more than one million Alabamians who used their votes to express their faith in our vision have our everlasting thanks, and I pledge to work every day to earn the trust and confidence of those who supported my opponent,” Ainsworth said. “The campaign is over, the ballots have been cast, and now is the time for us to come together as proud and united Alabamians who are dedicated to making an already great state even better.”
“Let us work to be known as the state that leads the U.S. in job creation and economic development because our citizens possess a work ethic second to none and our workforce development efforts provide an army of job ready applicants,” Ainsworth continued. “Let us work to be known as a state that demands excellence in the classroom and is willing to take the steps necessary to provide a world-class public education system. Our “First Class” Pre-K program already leads the nation and provides a model that other states are following, so we should resolve to top every measure in our K-12, post secondary, and four-year offerings, as well.”
“Let us work to be known as a state whose government is as hardworking, honest, and effective as the citizens it seeks to serve,” Ainsworth said. “We must no longer accept corruption as a natural by-product of public service, and we must punish those who violate the public trust from the local courthouse to the Alabama State House.”
Judge Michael Joyner administered the oath of office to Attorney General Steve Marshall.
Marshall asked that everyone remember the Birmingham Police Officer who was killed on duty over the weekend.
Marshall said that it is a high honor to be sworn in this morning to continue as Alabama’s 48th Attorney General. Marshall said that it is an honor to serve as our state’s Chief Legal Counsel and to serve as its Chief Law Enforcement officer.
Marshall said that it is his responsibility to defend the laws of Alabama, to protect Alabama’s sovereignty, and to work to make the people free from the fear of violence.
“I have never backed down from a fight and I will not start that now,” Marshall said.
State Auditor Jim Zeigler was sworn in by Chief Justice Thomas Parker.
“The people of Alabama have hired us to work for you on a four year contract,” Zeigler said. “I have been blessed to be your state auditor.” Zeigler said that he is term limited and would continue to be a watchman for the people of Alabama.
State Representative Mike Jones swore in John Harold Merrill for another term as Secretary of State.
“As your 53rd Secretary of State it is my honor to travel to all 67 counties,” Merrill said. “We want every eligible U.S. citizen in Alabama to be a registered vote and have a voter ID card.”
Merrill said that as Secretary of State he has decreased his staff from 49 and 39 while reducing the time to complete business filings. Merrill said that his office no longer works at the speed of government; but instead works at the speed of business.
John McMillan was sworn in as Treasurer by his granddaughter Elle McMillan.
“We have finally got a team in place that can finally address some of the challenges that this state faces,” McMillan said. “I would like to thank my predecessor Young Boozer for the great job that he did.”
Rick Pater was sworn in as Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries by his pastor.
Jeremy Oden was sworn in and Chris “Chip” Beeker Jr. were sworn in for second terms on the Alabama Public Service Commission.
Chief Justice Parker administered the oath of office to the members of the school board.
The officers that were sworn in today were all Republicans. This term will end in January 2023.