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Alabama Governor takes the oath of office, again

Kay Ivey
Vasha Hunt/AP
FR171624 AP
FILE - Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks to supporters after the Republicans's reelection victory, Nov. 8, 2022, in Montgomery, Ala. Ivey begins her second full term on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023 with her inauguration. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has been sworn in for her second full term as governor. Ivey had been lieutenant governor, but automatically became governor in 2017 when then-Governor Robert Bentley abruptly resigned amid an impeachment probe. Ivey won the office in her own right in 2018 and again in 2022. In her last term, Ivey championed her support of a state abortion ban and legislation that abolished the requirement to get a state permit to carry a concealed handgun. Republican challengers in the GOP primary criticized her support for the state gas tax increase and her handling of the pandemic. But Ivey won the nomination without a runoff. Ivey is the state's second female governor and the first Republican woman elected to the post. Her inauguration falls on the anniversary of the state's first female governor, Governor. Lurleen Wallace, being sworn in as governor in 1967. Ivey has called Wallace one of her heroes.

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. 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.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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