On Tuesday evening, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey presented her State of the State address, claiming that “we have successfully steadied the ship of state; I declare that the state of the state is strong and our future is as bright as the sun over the Gulf.”
About 22 hours earlier, Alabama head football coach Nick Saban offered viewers tuned in to the national title game his own State of the Tide. With his team trailing Georgia at halftime 13-0, Saban succinctly described the Tide’s woeful performance in the game’s first two quarters.
The offense: “We just can’t move the ball effectively. We haven’t been able to throw it effectively at all. And I don’t think it’s just the quarterback. I think it’s the whole group,” Saban said.
The defense: “We’re making too many mistakes, especially on third down where we had a chance to get off the field,” he said.
(Other than that, Coach Saban, are you enjoying your trip to Atlanta?)
The coach closed with a hint of optimism, saying his team has “plenty of chances to stay in the ballgame and get things fixed at halftime.”
We all know how it worked out. Alabama came roaring back and beat Georgia in overtime, 26-23.
For her part, Ivey was a little more kind in assessing the state’s condition. She wasn’t fully sunshine and happiness, but her citation of shortcomings was tempered with short-on-specifics solutions.
Last week, The Star got its first glimpse of results from our “Your State, Your Say” survey, which was developed by Veracio. The Star will spend the 2018 campaign season writing in-depth about the survey results.
The online survey asked respondents to tell us what they consider to be the most important issues facing Alabama. Their answers:
- Education: 72 percent
- Health care: 70 percent
- Corruption: 54 percent
- Budget and/or taxes: 40 percent
- Jobs/unemployment: 40 percent
Those who took our survey were also asked to say how confident they were that the state’s leadership would bear down on these issues. As Veracio’s analysis noted, “Interestingly, the issues that were thought to be most important — Education and Health Care — have relatively high levels of confidence that the candidates will successfully address them. This seems to indicate an optimistic voting base.”
That should play well with those who heard Ivey say on Tuesday, “Despite our differences, despite our varying viewpoints, despite party labels, I sincerely believe we all have one common goal — to each play our part in making Alabama a better place to live, raise and educate our children, own a home and create jobs and business opportunities.”
Good words — yet they must be met with equally strong actions.
At halftime of Monday’s national championship game, Saban benched a two-year starter with a 25-2 record (Jalen Hurts) in favor of a lightly tested freshman quarterback (Tua Tagovailoa). It was a bold and radical move, and one that paid off for the Crimson Tide.
Our question: What radical changes in the governance of Alabama are Gov. Ivey and the Legislature prepared to initiate?