Ivey: First months about ending ‘cloud’ over state

Published 8:44 pm Thursday, July 20, 2017

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday said the priority of her first whirlwind days in office have been to remove the “cloud of uncertainty” that hung over the scandal-battered state that saw three Republicans removed from their duties in quick succession.

Ivey, the state’s first Republican female governor, marked her 101st day in office with a speech to reporters, cabinet members and staff. She said she proud of the work of her fledgling administration.

“I have had one goal in mind to steady the ship of state and to improve Alabama’s image,” Ivey said.

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Ivey became governor in April with the resignation of then-Gov. Robert Bentley. Bentley resigned as lawmakers opened an impeachment hearing in the fallout of his alleged affair with a staffer. His resignation came in a 12-month period that also saw the House speaker convicted on ethics charges and the chief justice removed from his duties by a disciplinary panel for violating standards of judicial ethics.

“Right after I was sworn in, I promised that the Ivey administration would be open, honest, and transparent,” she said.

Ivey ran through a list of what she considered her accomplishments in her first days in office: putting together an administration with three hours of notice; banning lobbyists from state boards; and making some key appointments. She said the cloud of scandal that hung over the state hindered the ability to attract industry or allow government to run smoothly.

While she discussed the work to “steady the ship of state” — a metaphor she has often turned to in the whirlwind transition period — she offered few hints about its future course. Ivey told The Associated Press this week that infrastructure, education and economic development would be areas of concentration for her. She said Thursday she would reveal specifics “sooner rather than later, I promise you.” She said lawyers are engaged in mediation on how to respond to a federal judge’s order to improve mental health care in state prisons.