Kay Ivey delivered her first State of the State address Tuesday night before a joint session of the Alabama Legislature.
Here are the top five things you should know from her 40-minute speech from the state Capitol:
5. Ivey reacted to the Monday night’s college football national championship game the way we all did
“What a game,” Ivey said as she began her speech, referncing the overtime nail-biter of a game featuring the University of Alabama Crimson Tide defeating the University of Georgia Bulldogs 26-23.
4. She says the dark cloud over the state has been lifted, the ship of state steadied
Ivey became Alabama’s 54th governor in April, following the resignation of scandal-embroiled former Gov. Robert Bentley amid allegations he abused his power to cover up evidence of an alleged affair with an top advisor.
Suffice to say, she had her hands full in trying to turn the ship of state around, considering the Yellowhammer State had seen more crises in the past 12 months than one could count.
“A lot has happened since then,” Ivey said. “We have lifted the dark cloud, wounds have started healing, and the people’s faith in a government ‘for and by the people’ is being restored.”
“The ship of state has been steadied. Together, let’s move it in a new direction toward progress and sustainability,” she added. “I am honored to be at the helm of this magnificent ship we call Alabama, which benefits from a strong and committed crew, the good people of Alabama.
3. She supports pay raises for state employees
Ivey said her budget proposals would include pay raises for teachers, school employees and other government workers.
“Every day, we depend on state employees,” she said. “Whether it’s a state trooper patrolling our highways, a teacher staying late to help a struggling student, or a social worker rescuing an abused child, quality state employees are essential to good government. It is long-past time for us to honor their service with better pay.”
Ivey did not specify how much of an increase she’d propose, but budget numbers released earlier Tuesday suggest a 2 to 3 percent increase.
2. She’s forward-thinking in educating children
Ivey announced the creation of a new school in the Rocket City that will educate high school students about cybersecurity.
“Tonight, I am announcing, the formation of the Alabama School of Cyber and Engineering, which will be based in Huntsville,” she said. “This school will prepare some of our state’s highest-achieving students to enter the growing fields of cyber technology and engineering. Just as Huntsville has always been on the leading edge of the rocket and aerospace industries, the Alabama School of Cyber and Engineering will ensure that Alabama students are at the forefront of today’s emerging technologies.”
1. The unemployment rate has fallen every month she’s been in office
Alabama’s unemployment rate dropped to its lowest rate in a decade in the months since Ivey assumed office. November saw a record-low 3.5 percent.
“The unemployment rate has fallen every month since I became governor,” Ivey said. “What we are doing is working, and as a result, the people of Alabama are working and providing for their families.”