EXCLUSIVE: One-on-one with Alabama Governor Kay Ivey

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MONTGOMERY, Ala (WRBL)- News 3’s Reshad Hudson sat down exclusively with Governor Kay Ivey to talk about major issues facing the state as well her recent controversy surrounding her participation in blackface while in college.

It’s very rare that Gov. Ivey does these sit down interviews, and we talked with her about prison issues, infrastructure and the blackface controversy she’s facing.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this one has sparked a lot of conversation. The governor admitted to taking part in skit in college where blackface was used.

“Many people find this racist and offensive.  At the time did you think it was?” Hudson asked the governor.

“At the time, I don’t even remember the event. I’ve heard the recording. It was not considered a hurtful event at the time, but that was a mistaken situation. I have apologized publicly for ever participating in that skit,” Governor Ivey replied.  The governor later clarified and said she finds it offensive today.

The NAACP has called for the governor to step down. She said that’s not going to happen, but she did meet with their leaders.

Another major concern facing the state is an overcrowded, unsafe and outdated prison system. This all prompted a federal investigation. We asked the governor why continue with the current leadership at the Department of Corrections.

“I think we have good leadership. It’s just getting people to want to become corrections officers, and well-trained in mental health and to retain them,” Ivey said.

One way to retain them is by increasing their salaries, the governor said.

Meanwhile the governor has created a study on criminal justice policy,  but a concern by many  is there’s no formerly incarcerated person on the committee.

“I don’t know about being on the committee, but they could certainly interview that person if they feel that person would have information,” Ivey said.

 Earlier this month, the state’s gas tax increased by six cents, an infrastructure improvement plan heavily supported by Ivey.

“We need to have good roads and bridges for safe passage for our commerce, our public travels and our school children– going to and from work [for commuters] as well,” Ivey responded.

Next year the gas tax will increase by 2 cents, and the 2 cents the following year. The governor says that will bring in about $320 million for the state.

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