Gov. Ivey sets sights on education policy while Maddox focuses on process
The ad, which is now running statewide, seeks to highlight her success in preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow.
“As a former teacher, I know how vital education is to Alabama’s success,” Ivey says in the ad. “That’s why I launched a new initiative with record funding for Pre-K education.”
Why make education the first issue of the general election? A 2018 report by the Alabama Department of Education shows that Gov. Ivey’s Democratic opponent may have an “education problem.”
Released in January, Alabama’s annual list of failing schools showed that two-thirds of the City of Tuscaloosa’s public high schools are failing. Mayor Walt Maddox has governed the city since 2005.
Before being elected mayor, Maddox worked for the Alabama Education Association from 1996-2001 and served a term on Tuscaloosa’s City Council.
Gov. Ivey’s new ad, which can be viewed below, is titled “Strong Start, Strong Finish,” a nod to her trademark education initiative that was launched to integrate Alabama’s early childhood education, K-12 education and workforce development into a seamless educational experience for students across the state.
Under Gov. Ivey’s brief administration, investment in Alabama’s nationally recognized First Class Pre-K program received its largest single-year increase ever in program funding. And, as part of the first half of “Strong Start, Strong Finish,” she is working hard to make this program available to all Alabama families who wish to participate.
“Here in Alabama, we are focused on workforce preparedness, because we are creating record jobs,” Ivey explains in the ad, referencing a tenet of the latter half of her initiative. “That means we have to teach students today to be ready for the jobs of tomorrow.”
Gov. Ivey has branded herself using job growth first and foremost, with her campaign’s tagline of “Alabama is working again” fresh on people’s minds. Now, she is building on this success, showing Alabamians that education, job training, and economic development are all intertwined.
As for Mayor Maddox, his latest campaign commercial is based on his propensity to run.
With Gov. Ivey’s job approval rating soaring, Maddox is firmly behind the eight-ball.
In political campaigns, the battle often is fought over competing answers to the questions of the time; e.g., “how do we create jobs?” However, in reality, campaigns are won and lost on the questions themselves.
This is playing out in front of our eyes in the governor’s race. Mayor Maddox cannot win the answers to key questions people have on their minds. After all, unemployment has been at record lows and jobs are being created left and right under Gov. Ivey’s leadership.
Maddox’s solution? Change the question. Generate process stories about debates. Jog. Because on the issues, he loses every time.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn