MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced she would run again for governor of Alabama next year.

Ivey, 76, was first elected as lieutenant governor in 2011 under then-governor Robert Bentley and was sworn in as Alabama’s 54th governor following Bentley’s resignation in 2017. In 2018, Ivey won her first gubernatorial election against Democratic contender and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, garnering over 59% of the vote. Previously, Ivey worked as the state treasurer of Alabama from 2003 to 2011.

“Alabamians have shown the rest of the nation that our faith, resilience and common sense are what makes us and drives us forward to a promising future. I am proud to be your governor and would be honored to serve you for a second term,” Governor Ivey said. “Alabama is working again, and the best is yet to come.”

Ivey, who spent time as both a high school teacher and bank officer, is a graduate of Auburn University and has been involved in Alabama politics since 1979, when she worked in the state cabinet under then-governor “Fob” James.

Following the announcement, Ivey made her first campaign stop at a popular lunchtime restaurant in Montgomery.

She spoke about the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the state and concerns her statewide mask mandate could hurt her with more conservative voters.

“I don’t listen to the naysayers and we all know that mask have been effective.  And I just encourage people to practice personal responsibility,” Ivey said.

The governor also addressed the recent failure of her prison plan to get the financing it needed to move forward.  She said she’s now ready to sit down with lawmakers and work out a deal. 

“Prisons have been in ill repair for decades.  They are long past serving their time.  So have got to  build new prisons and start rehabilitating our prisoners and not just warehousing them,” Ivey said.

The Alabama Democratic Party released the following statement after Ivey’s announcement:

“Kay Ivey claims that Alabama has a ‘future brighter than any other in America,’ but after more than a decade of total Republican control, Alabama consistently ranks at the bottom of nearly every list, whether it’s healthcare, education, or vaccinations.

“Kay Ivey has had four years to improve our lives, but just like the Republicans who came before her, she has done nothing to improve anyone’s lives unless they’re a millionaire or a politician. 

“We need a governor who will raise the minimum wage to $15, legalize marijuana, and stop spending billions of dollars of our money on new prisons while Alabama suffers. We need a governor who will fix our criminal justice system and reduce incarcerations, support our workers and raise our wages, and expand Medicaid – providing free healthcare to thousands of Alabamians. 

“Over a decade of Republicans running Montgomery is long enough. We can’t afford four more.”

-Alabama Democratic Party

The Camden native made the announcement over 150 days before the Nov. 8 election day. If re-elected, this will be her second and final consecutive term as governor. Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth will also be seeking re-election, his campaign announced Wednesday.