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When I was Gov. Fob James’ appointments secretary in 1995, there was a woman who insisted we find qualified women and get them appointed to various positions in state government. It’s good to see that woman is practicing what she was preaching because that woman was Kay Ivey, now soon-to-be the longest-serving governor of our state.
It was the best of times for women in Alabama last year, in part due to Gov. Ivey’s leadership and example. Women excelled in state government and its outlying relevant positions.
For those naysayers out there, yes, I realize we still have a long way to go. But let’s be thankful and grateful to those who have promoted qualified women by being in office and running for office.
At the top of that list of women is the governor herself, whom all of you promoted – twice. Inauguration Day is January 16, and it will be historic in that Gov. Ivey will be sworn in for a third time to our state’s highest office. She defeated eight opponents without a runoff — a feat few have ever known, and many wish they had.
She’s had a solid term and a half where she’s made historic appointments and passed significant legislation that without her political prowess and negotiation skills might have failed. She has also chosen an excellent staff led by Liz Filmore, the first female chief of staff to a governor in state history. What an excellent job she does, and her capabilities seem endless.
Ivey appointed the first female to the Alabama Fire College and Personnel Standards and Education Commission when she appointed Deputy Fire Chief Brandy Williams of Madison. She also appointed the first Republican female Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Lyn Stuart and the first adjutant general of the Alabama National Guard, Maj. Gen. Sheryl Gordon.
She appointed the first female probate judges in Butler and Clay counties — Judge Ann Gregory and Judge Tammy Sprayberry, respectively. These are just a few of the many outstanding “firsts” in female appointments the governor has made across our state.
In addition to the list of accomplished females is U.S. Sen.-Elect Katie Britt who fought as hard a race as anyone could. And who said women can’t raise money? Sen.-Elect Britt proved women can raise money by raising more than $11 million since her candidacy began.
She is the first elected woman from Alabama to the U.S. Senate. At just 40 years of age, Sen.-Elect Britt has many more miles to go before her journey ends.
Also, three women replaced men in the Baldwin County Legislative Delegation when they won elections last year, representatives Frances Holk-Jones, Jennifer Fidler and Donna Givens. They have such notoriety already that they’re referred to as “Charlie’s Angels.” As one of them joked, as long as they’re not referred to as “Hell’s Angels,” they’ll be happy. They are a bright and talented trio and will serve well.
Shelby County also has three women in its legislative delegation: Sen. April Weaver – the only Republican female in the State Senate – and State Reps. Susan Dubose and Leigh Hulsey. They, too, bring a powerhouse of talent and will provide fresh new leadership in Montgomery.
Many eyes will be on these women in the months and years ahead. With their examples of character and leadership, they will not disappoint.
There’s an old song that’s titled “It’s Raining Men,” but I’ve got to tell you since 2022 in the political arena, it’s been “reigning women.”