Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey sworn in for 2nd full term

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey was sworn in Monday for her second full term as governor.

Ivey, 78, took the oath of office on the Alabama Capitol steps before a crowd of several hundred, She will give her inaguration speech later this morning.

Ivey is the state’s second female governor and the first Republican woman elected to the post. Her Monday inauguration falls on the anniversary of the state’s first female governor, Gov. Lurleen Wallace, being sworn in as governor on Jan. 16, 1967. Ivey has called Wallace one of her heroes.

Ivey had been lieutenant governor but automatically became governor in 2017 when then-Gov. Robert Bentley abruptly resigned amid an impeachment probe. Ivey won the office in her own right in 2018 and again in 2022.

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In her last term, Ivey championed a number of GOP priorities. She signed into law a 2019 abortion ban, outlawing abortion at any stage of pregnancy with no exceptions for pregnancies arising from rape and incest. The abortion ban took effect after the U.S. Supreme Court returned the issue of abortion to state control.

She also signed legislation that abolished the requirement to get a state permit to carry a concealed handgun. She highlighted the legislation in a campaign ad in which she pulled a Smith & Wesson .38 out of her purse while sitting at the governor’s desk.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks to supporters after the Republicans’s reelection victory on Nov. 8, 2022, in Montgomery, AL. Ivey begins her second full term on Jan. 16, 2023 with her inauguration.
(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

But Ivey did not face an easy path to the GOP nomination last year as Republican primary challengers criticized her push for a gas tax increase as well as her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with state business closures and mask orders.

However, the governor defeated her opponents — including former Trump ambassador Lindy Blanchard and Tim James, the son of a former Alabama governor — without being forced into the runoff. Ivey easily won the general election in November, defeating Democrat Yolanda Flowers and Libertarian James Blake.

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Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, Attorney General Steve Marshall, Secretary of State Wes Allen and other state-wide elected officials were also sworn in during the inauguration ceremonies.