Although her social media accounts have been active, very little of Gov. Kay Ivey has been seen publicly recently.

Her last reported appearance came in Sumter County for the groundbreaking of a wood pellet plant on June 28, the day after she formally announced a special session of the Alabama Legislature for redistricting after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Alabama's 2021 congressional maps.

Meanwhile, the problems are piling up for state policymakers. In addition to redistricting woes, escalating costs and delays have plagued new prison construction, initially approved in a 2021 special session. Embattled Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) director John Cooper, coming off of a misdemeanor arrest in Marshall County, is leading an agency facing litigation over a decision to build a new bridge connecting mainland Baldwin County to the beaches. The Biden administration is reportedly on the verge of rescinding a pledge to build the new Space Command headquarters in Huntsville.

Some of these issues were on display earlier this week during the legislature's contract review committee meeting, as multi-million dollar contracts for legal services for ALDOT and the Alabama Department of Corrections were approved.

It has not gone unnoticed by lawmakers.

State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) raised the issue publicly on Friday during an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5.

"I haven't seen her recently," he said. "I was in Montgomery yesterday. I'm there frequently. I haven't seen her recently, and I'll tell you, Jeff, I haven't seen her not at a ribbon cutting. And, as you watch the state government work, and you watch the machine operate, I just wonder — you have to take John Cooper at his word when he said, 'Hey, on this bridge thing, I haven't talked to the Governor since 2017.' You just have to wonder how much of the state is operating the same way."

Elliott said Ivey's conspicuous absence on the leadership front raises a whole host of questions.

"If you take public appearances and subject ribbon cuttings and people doing hand-shaking stuff, I just don't see her out there grabbing the bull by the horns," Elliott added. "And you know, her reputation certainly was one of problem-solver. The campaign commercials certainly seemed to indicate that. We've got real problems. As I sat yesterday in a contract review committee, watching agency after agency come forward, especially when we start talking about legal contracts, I have to wonder, is the Governor aware of this? Is the Governor engaged? Is the Governor driving the ship of state on these issues, or are we just letting the cabinet officials, to some extent, run amuck? Some of that is local frustration over some bridge stuff and certainly some frustration over prisons and the ballooning cost of that. I just don't think anybody has had an idea of what this is going to cost. But the buck stops with the Governor, and I think she needs to engage more than she is."

Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.

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