All eyes on Alabama governor’s race as Ivey, Maddox share plans, platforms
(WAFF) - For Alabama’s gubernatorial candidates, months of campaigning and traveling from city to city have all led up to this point.
On Tuesday, voters will decide who they want to lead the state.
Gov. Kay Ivey and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox both traveled across Alabama on Monday to leave one last message with voters before they cast their ballots.
Ivey arrived to a packed house at Signature Flight Support at the Huntsville International Airport.
The governor made stops in six different cities to encourage Alabamians to get out and vote. She called it her "Alabama is Working Again" statewide tour.
Ivey stressed that she’s worked to make government more effective and to move the state forward, including making improvements to education, the economy, public safety and budgets.
"Some 19 months ago when I took the oath of office, I spoke to the people of Alabama and I promised I would clean up government, restore the people's trust and get people working again. Promises made, promises kept," she told the crowd.
According to data released by Morning Consult, Ivey remains the third most popular governor in the nation.
The polling showed that 65 percent of registered voters in Alabama approve of Ivey. Only Massachusetts' and Maryland's governors have higher approval ratings.
"While I've been governor, world class companies from around the globe have invested over $8 billion in our state and created some 16,000 new Alabama jobs. I'm proud to say today that we have more people working in Alabama than ever before in our state's history," she stated.
But Ivey says she wants to continue the momentum she's gained and stressed that she still has more work to do.
“What’s to come-more quality, high paying jobs, improved education, infrastructure plan that works for 21st century Alabama, preserving our conservative values and maintaining the trust of our people,” she added. “I’m just trusting the people of Alabama. They like results and people are working again and I’m proud to work with them.”
Ivey has highlighted several areas on the campaign trail, touting her desire to bring progress and stability to the state in the wake of the Governor Bentley scandal.
On the education front, Ivey says she’s funded 1,040 pre-K classrooms in the state- an all time record high. And she added that the largest education budget in 10 years was passed.
Ivey also pointed out that more state troopers are coming to Alabama. When she became governor, there were only had 313 troopers on highways, a shortage that’s been plaguing the state for years.
Ivey says she worked with legislature to appropriate funds so that the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency could hire, train and equip more troopers.
“Before February, we will have over 400 state troopers fully ready to protect your safety on the highways- a 25 percent increase,” she explained.
Her Democratic opponent, Maddox, also toured the state on Monday, as he has been doing for months, to share his vision. Maddox said Alabama needs to break from the “shadows of the past.”
He greeted supporters in Huntsville at the airport.
When it comes to the lottery, Maddox says Alabamians have been going across state lines to GA, FL and TN to buy tickets, and in the process, supporting their education systems.
"The children in Alabama were the only losers and they deserve those same opportunities because without a lottery, we are going to continue to lag behind the rest of the nation when it comes to healthcare, education and workforce development," he said.
Maddox wants to expand Medicaid and enhance workforce development. His focus is on a safe infrastructure, access to healthcare, and good paying jobs.
"I want to make two points- Who over the last year has put forward detailed solutions to the challenges facing Alabama? And which candidate can position Alabama for a brighter and more dynamic future? I believe we've made that case to the people of Alabama. This is not about party. This is about solutions to problems that have impacted Alabama for far too long," he said.
According to Maddox, the expansion of Medicaid would create 30,000 new jobs. He says Alabama ranks second in the nation for the number of people who have dropped out of the labor force and that 600,000 Alabamians are underemployed, adding that more than 100,000 left the state to take higher paying jobs elsewhere.
"We've got to enhance our workforce development if we are going to competitive long term," he explained. "Being a leader is not about being popular. It's when crisis comes in front of you and how you deal with it."
Maddox capped off his statewide tour with a big final campaign rally in Tuscaloosa. He shared his immediate plan if he becomes governor.
"On Day 1, we're going to expand Medicaid through executive order. We're going to call a special session to pass the Alabama Education Lottery. And we're going to end the corruption that's overshadowed the state for far too long. Corruption is a cancer that's run rampant in Montgomery for way too long and it's important that we have a governor that we can depend on, not only not to be corrupt but not to be silent when it matters the most," he said.
Both candidates urged voters to head to the polls on Tuesday and let their voices be heard.
“Show up to vote tomorrow. Everybody needs to go to the polls and take their family, their neighbors and friends,” Ivey said. “The polls are looking good. But the only thing that matters is who turns up at the ballot box.”
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