By PERRY HOOPER
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan
Two years ago, when Kay Ivey took the Oath of Office as Alabama’s 54th Governor, Alabama was under a dark cloud. Governor Robert Bentley, just a few hours prior had resigned from the Governor’s Office in disgrace. Undaunted Governor Kay Ivey rolled up her sleeves and went to work in her words to steady the ship of state and restore the public’s confidence in Alabama’s leadership. In 18 months, she had not only “steadied the ship” she had replaced the rudder and engine. Proof of her success were her resounding victories in a highly contested Republican Primary and the General Election against Democratic candidate Walt Maddox.
She promised in her Inaugural address to take on the big issues that previous administrations had kicked down the road. She promised Alabama solutions for Alabama problems. Her priority was Alabama’s crumbling infrastructure. She gathered the data, analyzed the various alternatives and developed the “Rebuild Alabama Act”. She worked tirelessly in selling her solution to the legislature and the general public. She brought all sides together and reached a consensus. In less than three months from her inauguration as an elected Governor, she signed in law her Rebuild Alabama Act; the first significant infrastructure legislation signed into law since 1992.
Ivey’s victory is more significant than passing one act. Governor Ivey has now shown that she and her staff and Cabinet are highly competent, organized, .and focused on making Alabama all that it can be. Governor Ivey is proving she is a rare commodity among politicians. She is willing to stake her reputation, political capital and legacy on doing what’s right, not what is best for her political future.
She has been simultaneously tackling the decades old problems of our prison system which the Department of Justice has declared is in violation of the 8th amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. This cannot be ignored. The Department of Justice has the power to place our entire Department of Corrections into federal receivership. The receiver would have the power to force the state to spend money as they see fit, in essence taking control of the General Fund Budget. No Governor in my memory has faced a bigger task that lacks public support. I have no doubt she is up to the job.
Education has always been a priority for Kay Ivey long before she became Governor. The Trump Ivey economy has created record revenues for Alabama’s Education Budget as well as the General Fund Budget. She is working to assure our education and workforce development efforts properly prepare Alabamians for a 21st century economy. She also promised not to neglect other issues facing Alabama and I quote, “I hope the progress that we make will inspire us to tackle other pressing challenges, such as health care, rural economic development, access to broadband and other important issues.”
Governor Kay Ivey is winning for the people of Alabama like Trump is winning for America and we will not get tired of it. I implore all Alabamians to get behind our Governor, put aside all partisan differences, and show the nation how truly great Alabama can become with Governor Ivey at the helm.
Perry Hooper is a former State Representative from Montgomery who serves on the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee. In 2016 he chaired Alabama’s Trump Victory campaign.