Alabama Governor Kay Ivey — a Republican who ascended to the post in 2017 and won election to a full term in 2018 — announced on Wednesday that she will run for a second full term as governor during statewide elections in 2022.
“Alabamians have shown the rest of the nation that our faith, resilience and common sense are what makes us and drives us forward to a promising future. I am proud to be your governor and would be honored to serve you for a second term,” Ivey said. “Alabama is working again, and the best is yet to come.”
The governor’s campaign said in their statement that under her leadership, Alabamians have seen results, historic achievements and their values protected. In the last four years, Alabama has created more than 44,000 new jobs, built the best business climate of all 50 states and reached the lowest unemployment rate in the state’s history, with more jobs available now than ever before.
But her campaign said Ivey knows a great deal of work remains, and she is ready to continue leading Alabama to even greater heights.
Campaign Chairman Jimmy Rane said: “Alabama’s historic achievements are a direct result of Governor Ivey’s effective leadership. She has not only delivered results; she has proven that she can make the tough decisions to do what is right and best for the people of Alabama, leading this state to have one of the strongest comebacks in the country. There is no doubt that in a second term, Governor Ivey would continue leading with optimism, determination to tackle challenges head on, and she will keep Alabama growing and thriving.”
Ivey served two terms as state treasurer from 2003 to 2011. In 2010, she announced that she was running for governor. When she failed to make traction in a crowded Republican field that included Bradley Byrne, Tim James, Roy Moore and Robert Bentley, she switched to the lieutenant governor race, winning the Republican nomination over state Sen. Hank Irwin.
Ivey went on to upset the Democratic incumbent former Gov. Jim Folsom Jr. in the 2010 general election. Ivey was re-elected as lieutenant governor in 2014 and was elevated to the governor’s office in 2017 when Bentley — then the governor — resigned rather than face impeachment. Ivey was elected to her first full term as governor in 2018.
Ivey has made improving Alabama’s roads and the Port of Mobile a top priority of her first term. In 2019, the Legislature raised fuel taxes to pay for an ambitious road-building agenda. Those improvements and the deepening and widening of the shipping channel for the state port are underway.
Ivey has also focused on improving education in Alabama, which consistently ranks dead last in state rankings in education. To accomplish this, Ivey and the Legislature have expanded the number of Alabama’s First Class Pre-K classrooms and passed the Alabama Literacy Act in order to improve students’ literacy when they enter the fourth grade.
The thinking of the state Legislature and Ivey is that children learn to read in the first three grades, along with kindergarten and pre-K, and then read to learn from the fourth grade onward. Children who fail to read at a third-grade level by the end of third grade will have to repeat third grade beginning next year.
Ivey recently vetoed a bill to delay full implementation of the Alabama Literacy Act by two years due to concerns that many children had fallen behind due to the COVID-19 global pandemic and shutdowns of in-person learning due to fears of spreading the coronavirus. Ivey has also emphasized increasing apprenticeships and community college attendance in order to improve workforce development efforts.
Ivey has said that the workforce Alabama needs in the future includes more persons with advanced certificates in addition to a high school diploma. She has also started the Alabama School for Cybertechnology during her term. The 2022 education budget is the largest in the history of the state.
Ivey has had to spend much of her first term in office confronting the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed over 11,000 Alabamians and dealing with two hurricane impacts to the state as well as recovery from a number of tornado outbreaks.
In May, Ivey signed medical marijuana legislation for Alabamians with a demonstrated medical need to get a doctor’s recommendation to obtain state-legal, Alabama-grown cannabis. The state legalized hemp and over-the-counter hemp-derived CBD in 2018.
Ivey has emphasized building new prisons to address many of the longstanding problems at the Alabama Department of Corrections. At this point in time, she is still working on obtaining the financing to pay for the three new private mega-prisons that are at the heart of her prison construction plan.
The Governor’s Study Commission on Gaming found that the state could make up to $800 million in additional revenue a year by passing a state lottery, building as many as six casinos across the state, and negotiating a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, and legalizing sports betting. The governor’s recommendations passed the Alabama Senate but failed in the conservative House of Representatives.
Ivey is a former educator and former employee of the speaker of the House back in the 1980s. Ivey has a degree from Auburn University where she was one of the first women in the Student Government Association there. Ivey grew up on a cattle farm in Wilcox County.
Lee County pastor Dean Odle has already announced that he is challenging Ivey for governor in the 2022 Republican primary.