Dear Friends,

Happy Fourth of July!

On March 30, 1961, President Ronald Reagan said the following statement to the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

On Monday, we will celebrate 240 years of Independence with family and friends, waving American flags, attending parades, watching fireworks, and grilling delicious barbeque. The holiday is also a time to reflect on the freedoms that we enjoy. I want to say thank you to the men and women in our Armed Forces for their sacrifice to protect and preserve our freedoms. During this time in our Nation's history, especially during a presidential election, it is easy to talk about what is wrong. Take time this weekend to share with others what you enjoy most about our State and Nation.

Lt. Governor Kay Ivey presiding over the Alabama Senate in the 2016 Regular Legislative Session.


2016 Regular Legislative Session
In May, I had the honor of gaveling out my sixth Regular Legislative Session as Lieutenant Governor. Each Legislative Session presents its own accomplishments and challenges.

The major highlight of the 2016 Regular Session was passage of both budgets ahead of schedule. The General Fund Budget (GF) totaling $1.85 billion was passed in March, with the Legislature overriding the Governor’s veto on a 22-11 vote the first week in April. The FY17 GF Budget, which goes into effect October 1, 2016, is 5.2% larger than the current GF Budget and does not include any new taxes. The GF Budget increased funding for Medicaid and continues to provide protection against cuts for major state agencies including: Corrections, Law Enforcement, Human Resources, Medicaid, Mental Health and the Courts.

Alabama’s other budget, the Education Trust Fund Budget (ETF), was passed on the 25th Legislative Day on a 32-0 vote and quickly signed by the Governor. The FY17 ETF Budget totals $6.3 billion and is 5.6% more than the current education budget and it is the largest since 2008. The ETF Budget includes a pay raise for teachers, the first in nearly a decade, and includes increased funding for Pre-K, transportation and classrooms while providing enough money to hire 475 new teachers.

It is also important to note what did not pass and how it impacted the Legislature. A proposed gas tax, efforts to redefine bingo, renewal of historic building tax credits, prison construction and use of future BP settlement proceeds all failed; but, had a lot to do with the legislative process and its impact on other bills.

The challenges looming over the State at the beginning of the last session including prison overcrowding, pension reform, Medicaid, continued education reform, and more will be key legislative agenda items to be reconsidered when the Legislature convenes the 2017 Regular Session on February 7, 2017.

Lt. Governor Ivey with employees of the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama.

Airbus in Alabama
Alabama has a rich and distinguished history in aerospace dating back over 100 years with the establishment of the Wright Brothers’ flight school in Montgomery. Alabama is currently home to 400 aerospace companies from 30 different countries employing 83,000 Alabamians.

In 2012, Airbus, one of the largest aircraft manufactures in the world, chose Brookley Field in Mobile, Alabama to build an aircraft assembly line to produce the A320 family jetliner and employ up to 1, 000 people. At full production, Airbus is expected to produce between 40 and 50 aircraft each year. In July 2015, Airbus officially began assembly. In April 2016, Airbus delivered the first American built A320 aircraft “Blues Mobile” to JetBlue Airways.

I was proud to attend the delivery of the first Airbus A320 aircraft made in Alabama. The world was watching when Airbus chose Alabama to invest in its first U.S. based production facility. Thank you Airbus for investing in Alabama.

Pictured (L-R): Marshall Space Flight Director Todd May and Lt. Governor Kay Ivey

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Public Service Award
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) hosted their annual Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. At the Gala, I was honored to accept the 2016 AIAA Public Service Award.

The AIAA Public Service Award was established in 1986 to honor a person outside the aerospace community who has shown consistent and visible support for national aviation and space goals. Past recipients of the Public Service Award include Gene Roddenberry, Walter Cronkite, and the Great Great Niece of Orville and Wilbur Wright, Amanda Wright Lane. As you can see from the list, it is a huge honor to join such a distinguished group. Representing Alabama for this National award is a true testament to our State’s commitment to advancing the aerospace industry. Thank you to the AIAA chapter in Huntsville for nominating me for this prestigious award.

Pictured (L-R): Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter, Lt. Governor Kay Ivey, Rainbow Omega CEO and Board of Directors Chairman Stentson Carpenter, Purchasing Division Manager at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama Michael Gaines, Honda Representative, Commissioner of Mental Health Jim Purdue, and Representative Ken Johnson

Rainbow Omega Receives Honda Service Award
Last week, I was invited to attend an awards ceremony at Rainbow Omega in Eastaboga, Alabama. Rainbow Omega was established in 1991 and provides residential and vocational programs for adults with developmental disabilities.

The residents at Rainbow Omega work each day to assemble owner’s manuals for Honda vehicles manufactured all over the world. Honda presented Rainbow Omega with the Excellence in Delivery Award for always being on time and having no mistakes. Over the last ten years, the residents at Rainbow Omega have assembled a total of 2.8 million owner’s manuals.

The corporate partnership between Rainbow Omega and Honda is important to the residents as they participate in a process which allows them to truly make a difference with the work they do each day. This is a shining example of success: an Alabama program providing real jobs for real people. Rainbow Omega is a treasure in our State that should be replicated in other states across our country to help those in need.

I am honored to serve as Lieutenant Governor of this great State. I believe in Alabama and her people. I truly believe our finest days are ahead of us.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I may be of any assistance to you.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Sincerely,

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Photos: (Top) Denver Bronco and Super Bowl 50 Champion DeMarcus Ware receives Honorary Lieutenant Governor of Alabama on DeMarcus Ware Day in Alabama, April 19, 2016
(Left) Rainbow Omega residents assembling Honda owner's manuals, June 23, 2016
(Right) Madison County student displaying handmade version of France at the AIAA Huntsville Section Awards Dinner, May 27, 2016
(Bottom) Alabama Girls State Governor's Cabinet, June 10, 2016