Lieutenant Governor lauds business involvement in education, addresses impact of military presence in Alabama

Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey at today’s Business Council of Alabama Governmental Affairs Committee meeting addressed business involvement in education and the huge financial impact of the U.S. military’s presence in Alabama.

Ivey, a former banking executive, served two terms as state treasurer and was elected lieutenant governor in 2010. She serves as presiding officer of the state Senate.

Ivey said the BCA and business community’s historic involvement in education is helping reform it into a system that will produce employment-ready students after high school or higher education.

“The most significant achievement in the realm of education is that of the business community impacting education,” Ivey said “Business is healthy and bringing about real education reform.”

The BCA supports increased important successful education initiatives including First Class Pre-Kindergarten, the Alabama Reading Initiative, the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative, remote education access, dual high school and two-year college enrollment including its donation scholarship fund, and Workforce Development.

“People are making investments in students and 21st century jobs,” Ivey said. “I’ve long said the most important factor in education is the business community, which hires the graduates.”

Ivey also said, “Hats off for establishing the Business Education Alliance,” created by the BCA as a partnership of business and education. “It builds consensus among state business leaders, lawmakers, and other government officials and interested parties around this state.”

Turning to the military’s significant financial impact on Alabama, Ivey briefed committee members on the Job Creation and Military Stability Commission created by state Senate resolution in May 2011. Ivey serves as its chair.

Ivey said the commission’s goal is to protect Alabama’s four military missions – the Anniston Army Depot, Fort Rucker, Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, and Redstone Arsenal – against cuts under future Base Realignment and Closure actions ordered by President Obama. Base reductions could begin occurring in 2017.

“Their economic impact is $17 billion,” Ivey said. “We’re determined to maintain our military assets across the state.”
She said President Obama wants to “shrink the Army’s helicopter fleet by 25 percent,” an event which would have a major impact not only on counties in the Wiregrass where the Fort Rucker Army helicopter training base is located but also all of Alabama.

She said the president also wants to reduce the number of Navy littoral ships from 52 to 36, which would significantly affect Austal shipbuilding in Mobile. “That’s a huge impact on Alabama,” she said.

Weekly BCA Governmental Affairs Committee meetings held during legislative sessions feature legislative and administration leaders who discuss topics of interest for committee members and receive updates on BCA activities.

-Dana Beyerle