Five things you need to know about Kay Ivey

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The primaries are over, and the real battle begins.

Incumbent Governor Kay Ivey won the republican nomination for governor in a landslide victory, with just over 56 percent of the vote she will face-off against Walt Maddox in the November general election.

With that in mind, Here’s five things you need to know about Kay Ivey:

5. She’s been involved in politics since high school

Ivey’s first introduction into politics was in 1962 when she served as the lieutenant governor for the Wilcox County High School at Alabama Girls State. While in college at Auburn University she spent four years in the Student Government Association and coordinated for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lurleen Wallace‘s campaign on the school campus.

4. She first ran as a Democrat in 1982

In 1979 she was appointed by then Democratic Governor Fob James to serve as a member of his state cabinet. Ivey then rose through the ranks quickly, serving as law clerk of the Alabama House of Representatives, and Assistant Director of the Alabama Development Office.

In her first attempt to obtain a state office, Ivey ran as a Democrat, and was defeated by Jan Cook in the State Auditor’s race in 1982.

Ivey didn’t change parties until 2002, when she began her race for State Treasurer and decided to run as a Republican.

3. She is only the second woman in the state’s history to serve as Governor

Out of 54 governors who have been elected to serve as governor to the Yellowhammer State, only two have been female. Lurleen Wallace was the first and only female governor to hold the position until Ivey became the second woman to hold the office in 2017.

2. Under her watchful eye, the Alabama PACT program almost failed

In 1989 the Alabama State legislature created the PACT program, allowing parents to pre-pay their children’s college tuition but when tuition rates begin to rise, and stock markets began to fall the program began struggling in the early 2000’s.

Ivey, who served as State Treasurer from 2003-2011, said “only market conditions caused this, not staff or the board. It’s due solely to the economic conditions of the country,” according to AL.com.

By 2010, the program stopped selling contracts, and the legislature had to pass a plan to save the program, shoveling $548 million over 13 years starting in 2015 to save the day.

However, when Young Boozer took office in 2011 he said the money the legislature promised would not be enough to sustain the program, and in May the board approved the settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed by contract holders.

1. She was born on a cattle farm, and was raised as an only child

Ivey was born in Wilcox county to Boadman Nettles Ivey, an Army Major and a World War II veteran who started a cattle farm in the small town of Camden, Ala. home to less than 1,000 people at the time. She used her upbringing in several different ads this campaign season, the most notable an ad in which she touted her knowledge of “mountain oysters” saying “don’t give me a mountain oyster and tell me it’s seafood.”

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