Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) told Birmingham business leaders that when we look back on this time decades from now, we will see this as a "transformational time" for Birmingham and the whole state of Alabama. Ivey was addressing the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) at their luncheon at The Club on top of Red Mountain.

Ivey talked about the state of education, economic development, infrastructure and the recent legislative session. In fact, she told reporters the 2022 legislative session was one of the most productive that the state has had in years, other than the fact lawmakers didn’t pass a bill on gambling.

“I wanted them to pass it so that the people of Alabama could vote it up or down once and for all,” Ivey said.

During her speech, the governor addressed the World Games, which will be held in Birmingham and surrounding suburbs this summer.

“In 90 days we will be welcoming the world to Birmingham,” Ivey said. “The Birmingham Business Alliance has been a strong partner in making that happen…Whatever it is you want to do, Birmingham probably has it. Birmingham is positioning itself and our entire state for great things.”

Ivey said that the World Games will have a $265 million economic impact for the city of Birmingham.

When speaking about infrastructure, Ivey said there is still work to be done.

"I am a straight shooter and I tell it like it is, Birmingham’s roads and bridges needed a lot of work and they still do,” Ivey said.

Passing an infrastructure plan – that was paid for by a 10-cent per gallon tax on fuel was one of the first things that Ivey did after being elected governor in 2018.

Ivey said the Alabama Department of Commerce will soon release its 2021 economic growth reports and it is going to be one of the best years in the books. She said Jefferson County alone had $1.2 billion in new economic investments.

“The J.M. Smucker’s plant in McCalla will bring in 750 jobs,” Ivey said and also referenced the Shipt and Landing announcements in downtown Birmingham. “A week ago, I joined the folks at UAB for the groundbreaking of their new Genomics building.” 

Ivey acknowledged that the schools are a concern.

“The single most important issue across Alabama and the nation is our children’s education,” Ivey said. “Last week I signed the education trust fund, the largest in state history.” 

Ivey said the education budget is adding pre-k classrooms, giving pay raises to teachers, rewarding experienced teachers, and strategically investing in turning around failing schools.

“Folks if we keep making strategic investments then decades from now people will be talking about the Alabama transformation that we helped lead," Ivey said.

The education system in Alabama has been ranked in the bottom five in several studies, including those focusing on math

Ivey was elevated to Governor in 2017 when Gov. Robert Bentley (R) resigned. She was elected to her own term in 2018 and is seeking re-election this year in the May 24 Republican primary.

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