Alabama Needs a Gubernatorial Debate, Whether Kay Ivey Likes It or Not

Mayor Walt Maddox left, Gov. Kay Ivey right.

Alabama’s upcoming Gubernatorial Election takes place on November 6th, and the race is already getting heated.

Those in the state are probably familiar with the candidates: the incumbent governor Kay Ivey (Republican) and current Tuscaloosa mayor Walt Maddox (Democrat) vying for the position. When questioned about debating Maddox, Ivey responded with “The only two people who ever bring that up is y’all in the media and my opponent. So when my opponent finally makes up his mind where he stands on issues, we’ll talk about having a debate.” Ivey’s claim isn’t really valid – Maddox has made his views readily available on his campaign’s website, and it’s encouraged that you investigate them. To me, her excuse sounds like one from an elementary school playground, and I think there’s a lot of incompetency hiding behind it.

While debates can be somewhat frustrating to watch, they provide an excellent opportunity for voters to learn about their candidate. The people of Alabama deserve to know who they’re voting for (and if that individual is qualified for the position). Frankly, I don’t think that Ivey wants to show voters either of those things. It would show too much vulnerability.

If you watched this year’s Democratic Primary debates, you know that Maddox can maintain his position and composure when put on the spot – I don’t think I’ve seen many candidates appear as professional, knowledgeable, and committed to their platform as he did. It’s understandable that Ivey is fearful of being put in this position. Hell, I would be too. However, this selfish, fear-driven lust for power isn’t fair to the thousands of Alabamians who could benefit from a Maddox win. I think the people affected by the closing of medical centers in rural counties should have a chance at Medicaid expansion. His proposal of the Alabama Education Lottery could provide educators with the funding they need to ensure that students have a chance at reaching their full potential in and out of the classroom. There’s clearly an issue with this.

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Maddox’s message to Ivey on Twitter, August 3rd.

How can voters support such programs if they never hear about them? Gov. Ivey seems to be satisfied with leaving our state’s residents in the dark, but I know I’m not. Keeping voters ignorant has happened far too often in Alabama’s history, and politicians like Ivey are the ones to blame. Whether it’s their fault for doing so (or if it’s ours for letting it happen) accountability needs to be held. If the situation were reversed, and Maddox was doing the hiding, I’d still be upset, even if I’m obviously biased towards him. Hearing about Alabama being involved with political corruption is exhausting, and to be frank, Ivey hiding behind her facade is just as wrong as being caught in a political bribe.

We should all be desperate for some transparency here. Maddox isn’t perfect, and you might not agree with all of his positions, but he deserves support in the uphill battle he’s fighting. Kay Ivey owes the people a debate, and I hope she finds herself in one before November.



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