MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — In an exclusive interview, we talked with Gov. Kay Ivey about major issues facing the state as well her recent controversy surrounding her participation in blackface while in college.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the one of Ivey in blackface has sparked a lot of conversation. The governor admitted to taking part in a skit in college where blackface was used.
“At the time, I don’t even remember the event, I’ve heard the recording it was not considered a hurtful event at the time, but that was a mistaken situation at the time. I have apologized publicly for ever participating in that skit,” Ivey said.
Ivey later clarified and said she finds it offensive today.
The Alabama NAACP have called for the governor to step down, but she said that’s not going to happen, although she said did meet with the group’s leaders. Ivey said their conversation was about race in the state.
“If racism no longer existed in our state, how would you recognize it and they couldn’t answer me, so it was sort of not specific. I told them I would be glad to meet with them again,” she said.
Another major concern facing the state is an overcrowded, unsafe and outdated prison system, which prompted a federal investigation. We asked the Ivey why she is continuing with the leadership at the Alabama Department of Corrections?
“I think we have good leadership, it’s just getting people to want to be come corrections officers, and well trained in mental health and to retain them,” she said.
Ivey said one way the state is trying to retain them is buy increasing salaries and offering more incentives from the department of corrections.
Meanwhile, Ivey has created a Study Group On Criminal Justice Policy, but a concern by many is that there’s no formally incarcerated person on the committee.
“I don’t know about being on the committee, but they could certainly interview that person if they feel that person would have information,” she said.
Earlier this month, the state’s gas tax increase by 6 cents, an infrastructure plan heavily supported by Ivey. Next year, the gas tax will increase by 2 cents and another 2 cents the following year.
“We need to have good roads and bridges for safe passage for our commerce, our public travels and our school children going to and from work as well,” she said.
The governor helped get a bill through the legislature, to change the way state school board members are chosen. She would like to see an appointed board instead of an elected one. She said many of the states that have high-achieving score have moved to an appointed board.