By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, January 9, 2017, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey gave her first state of the state address to a joint session of the Alabama Legislature. Ivey presented an optimistic, forward-thinking picture of Alabama with improving budgets, record levels of employment, pay raises for state employees, more teachers, and reforms to make the state competitive moving forward. On Wednesday, Democratic candidate for Governor Walter “Walt” Maddox said that, “The picture she painted of our state was fiction.”
Walt Maddox is the Mayor of Tuscaloosa.
“Last night Governor Kay Ivey gave her State of the State address,” Maddox wrote. “The picture she painted of our state was fiction. The ship of state is not steady. Here’s the REAL State of the State.”
“Across Alabama rural hospitals are closing,” Maddox said. “Alabama’s health ranking is 47th in the nation, and 50th in prenatal births. Roads and bridges are crumbling. In Alabama, more than 20 percent of our bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Our education system continues to fail our children. Too many of our children are still learning to read after third grade rather than reading to learn.”
Maddox said, “For years, our state’s leaders have turned a blind-eye towards corruption and incompetence which has now placed every core function of state government in crisis. All the one-time windfalls cannot disguise the fact that we need a New Covenant; a Covenant that places people and progress ahead of politics. Because the REAL state of the state is a crisis, and we cannot just pretend our way through in order to survive the next election cycle.”
Maddox faces a crowded field just in the Democratic Primary. Progressive think tank founder Jason Childs, LGBTQ activist Chris Countryman, and Judge Sue Bell Cobb (D) are also running for the Democratic nomination for governor. Cobb is a former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. She served from her 2006 election to 2011.
Since Governor Ivey was elevated to the office in April, unemployment has plummeted. The state has record high employment and record tax revenues for both the state general fund and the education trust fund. On Tuesday, Ivey announced that Kimber was building a major new firearms factory in Troy. Kimber will reportedly employ 366 workers by the end of 2019. On Wednesday, Gov. Ivey announced that Toyota and Mazda were building a major new automobile manufacturing plant in Limestone County. The Toyota-Mazda car plant reportedly will create 4,000 new jobs.
On Wednesday, state Finance Director Clinton Carter told the Alabama Political Reporter that Ivey was asking the legislature to give 2.5 percent raises to all the state’s teachers and education employees and a for a 3 percent raise for all state general fund agency workers.
Ivey is seeking election to her own term as governor.
The major party primaries will be on June 5, 2018. The general election will be on November 5.