MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — In her first sit down interview since the pandemic, CBS 42 spoke with Gov. Kay Ivey about a wide-range of COVID-19 topics.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, more than 400,000 Alabamians now find themselves unemployed.

“A lot of these folks have never had a penny of government aid of any kind and certainly I understand their frustrations,” Gov. Ivey said.

We asked the governor about protecting lives as well as livelihoods during this pandemic.

“Well it’s hard to have a life if you don’t have a livelihood, so protecting our economy and trying to get it back up to speed or near speed is just real important for all of us,” Gov. Ivey said.

We asked the governor how would she rate the state’s handle of COVID-19.

“Well, so far so good, we’ve done fairly well we got people going back to work and we are making strides the open up so more businesses,” she said. We are doing the best we can, this is just an awful situation.”

As people are fighting for their lives, lawmakers and the governor are battling over how to spend $1.8 billion in coronavirus aid. Here’s how Gov. Ivey split up more than $1.7 billion of CARES Act funding as follows:

  • $300 million to reimburse state agencies for expenses directly related to the coronavirus outbreak;
  • $250 million to deliver health care and related services to residents;
  • $250 million to reimburse counties and cities for coronavirus expenses;
  • $300 million to support businesses, non-profits, faith-based groups and individuals impacted by the outbreak;
  • $300 million for technology and infrastructure expenses related to remote learning;
  • $200 million for reimbursement of costs to the Department of Corrections incurred because of the outbreak;
  • $53 million for remote work and public access expenses incurred by the state government, including the Legislature;
  • $10 million to reimburse court additional court costs incurred during the outbreak;
  • $5 million to reimburse the state’s General Fund for supplemental appropriations made to the Department of Public Health;
  • And up to $118,346,250 to be used miscellaneously “for any lawful purpose” with passage by the Alabama Legislature.

We asked Gov. Ivey why not take the lead on this issue as we’ve seen with other governors around the country.

“It’s not my list, it’s the people’s list and I was just standing up for the people of Alabama to be sure that the money was as it was intended for their well being,” Gov. Ivey said.

Lawmakers will be back in Montgomery on Monday to close out the legislative session and determine how the CARES Act money will be spent.