Birmingham leaders respond to Gov. Ivey's comments

Updated: Mar. 28, 2018 at 5:38 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Gov. Kay Ivey had some tough comments for Birmingham during a visit last month, reportedly saying Birmingham needed to get its act together to lure businesses and investments.

Gov. Ivey was in Birmingham on Tuesday for a big economic development announcement. During the visit Ivey did not answer WBRC FOX6 questions about her earlier comments.

"Good morning Governor Ivey, we have just one quick question," we said.

"Sorry we have to run," she replied.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, however, did reply to our questions on Wednesday.

"I think our actions speaks louder than words and we are showing the entire state, we are showing the entire nation that we don't have time for negative stuff," Woodfin said.

Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington also took exception to the Ivey's statement.

"I guess I partially blame us. It looks like we need to do a better job of educating the governor on what's happening in our community," Carrington said.

Birmingham's new Economic Development Director Josh Carpenter says if you look at the recent numbers the Birmingham metro area makes up 31 percent of gross domestic product which reflects all goods produced in the state of Alabama. That is more than the Mobile, Montgomery and Huntsville area combined.

"We posted 5,300 IT jobs between 2015 and 2016. As a percentage of the workforce here that is 37 percent in new demand," Carpenter said.

Gov. Ivey's office responded with the following statement:

Because Governor Ivey is more concerned with being honest than with being politically correct, she was simply pointing out that in the past Birmingham's ability to attract business investment was negatively affected by the misdeeds of previous local leaders. The governor was certainly not referring to the present leadership of Birmingham and Jefferson County. Since she came into office, Governor Ivey has brought accountable and ethical government to bear and the results of that are clear in the historical economic success Alabama is now enjoying. Birmingham and Jefferson County have also witnessed this, as the area has seen more than 2,200 new jobs and over $380 million in investment since Governor Ivey took office in April 2017. The governor appreciates the important economic development role Birmingham and Jefferson County play in Alabama, and she is committed to continuing to work with local leaders to bring even more economic success to the area.

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