MONTGOMERY, Ala. — With Gov. Bentley now officially out of office, many in the state are making preparations for political life under a new governor: Kay Ivey.
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Section 127 of Article V of the Alabama Constitution clearly states that in cases of removal from office, death or resignation, the lieutenant governor shall become governor. So with Bentley now gone, the job is Ivey’s until the next election in 2018.
According to Yellowhammer’s sources, Ivey and her team have been preparing a transition plan for over a year in case Bentley was ever compelled to resign. “It’s being done quietly,” one legislator told Yellowhammer last year. “But it’s definitely happening.”
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“When I first got elected lieutenant governor in 2010, I entrusted my transition team then to develop us a plan should the need arise, because one of the responsibilities of the lieutenant governor is to serve if and when there is a vacancy,” Ivey said last April. “So certainly that plan is available to me and should the need arise, we’ll implement that plan and the people of Alabama will have a smooth transition, and the business of the state will continue and be handled effectively.”
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Ivey was born in Camden, Ala. in 1944 and has spent her whole life in the state. She graduated with a BA from Auburn University in 1967 and subsequently worked as a high school teacher and a banker.
Her first run for political office came as the Democratic candidate for State Auditor in 1982. After losing that election, she served as the Director of Government Affairs and Communications for the Alabama Commission on Higher Education between 1985 and 1988.
She became the first elected Republican State Treasurer since Reconstruction in 2002, and she won reelection in 2006. During her eight years in office, Ivey modernized the Treasury Department by putting the state’s revenues and expenditures online for the public to see and by modernizing the office’s technology. Her management changes saved Alabama $5 million in taxpayer funds by reducing the cost of administration.
Initially planning to run for governor, Ivey changed her mind and launched a bid for lieutenant governor in 2010. Ivey wound up defeating the Democratic incumbent Jim Folsom, Jr. as part of a Republican sweep of statewide offices in November. In doing so, she became the first Republican woman to hold the office. She safely won reelection in 2014 with over 63 percent of the vote.
Now, she’s the first female governor of the state since Lurleen Wallace in 1986, but under largely different circumstances. Her term will mark the first time a Republican woman has ever occupied the Governor’s Mansion.
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