March 20, 2018

Gov. Ivey Sticks Foot in Mouth

Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama

March 20, 2018

Governor Ivey, you can do better than this.

Ivey, who’s campaigning for a full four year term as governor, addressed the Rotary Club of Birmingham on March 7th.

In her prepared remarks she bragged about $6 billion of new investments in Alabama since April of last year…including the $1.6 billion Huntsville Toyota-Mazda plant.

Since Birmingham has fallen behind other areas of the state like Mobile and Huntsville in economic development, it was likely someone in the audience would ask about Birmingham’s lack of success during questions and answers at the conclusion of her talk.

Question: “What does Birmingham need to do in order to further attract investment here in our city and community?”

This was an easy softball pitch to give Governor Ivey an opportunity to brag about Birmingham’s successes or give some insight as to what has worked elsewhere.

Shockingly she chose to attack Birmingham.

Governor’s response: “I think Birmingham may have suffered from time to time with some corruption or whatever in different boards or commissions around. Y’all get your act cleaned up and let your reputation shine–because there are some opportunities that would fit well for Birmingham in my view.”

Think about her response for a moment.

Governor Ivey criticized Birmingham’s lack of economic success on corruption after Alabama’s top three elected officials left office for corruption or ethics violations.

Corruption charges against our previous governor are why Ivey is our sitting governor. You can’t make this stuff up.

It appears unethical behavior by Alabama officials hasn’t hurt the Alabama economic victories that Governor Ivey had just taken credit for.

What’s worrisome is that it might be difficult for Governor Ivey to promote Birmingham to others when she sees Birmingham as corrupt.

Birmingham is not alone

Birmingham is one of many cities that have suffered from political corruption, but we have such low self-esteem, we let it hold us back.

Nashville’s mayor just resigned after pleading guilty to felony theft.  And in 2014, Charlotte’s mayor resigned,  after  facing corruption charges.

Nashville and Charlotte will continue to prosper.  Their political indiscretions will not be used by Tennessee or North Carolina as an excuse.

I do agree, however, with Governor Ivey’s suggestion that we should ‘get our act together,’ and that’s why I’m optimistic when I see some of our mayors meeting and working together.

Here are Ivey’s answers to other questions…

Governor Ivey says ‘no’ to the lottery

Question: “We’re one of six states without a lottery and would the governor be willing for us to have a lottery if those resulting funds would be used for education?”

Governor’s response: The solution should not be that we need more money for education. I think we can get more money for education and everything else if we get more people working, which we are doing.

They’re paying taxes and the revenues can continue to be up.  I’d like to see us pursuing private enterprise that works—putting people to work and let them earn and pay taxes and go that way.

The lottery is very popular among people if you could have a simple lottery, but that would have to start with the legislature and I don’t know whether it’s likely at this junction.”

Governor Ivey says ‘no’ to constitutional reform

Question: “Our constitution is antiquated and large. Are you open to a discussion about constitutional reform?”

Governor’s response: “What is the constitution as long as it is that prevents you from doing what you want to do? Just ‘cause it is big and thick doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to open it up and you have to be very careful about opening it up. Who’s going to serve on the panel? So be careful.  That’s not always the best thing to do.”

Listen to the entire Rotary speech including questions and answers: