If Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s preference in the Dec. 12 special U.S. Senate prevails, then her job will automatically become much more difficult. Her job being economic-developer-in-chief.
There’s no other way around it. If Alabama voters elect Roy Moore as a senator, marketing the state to the rest of the United States and the wider world as a place to do business won’t be easy. It’s certain Alabama’s competitors will ask if prospective companies are comfortable locating in a state that just sent to the Senate a twice-defrocked state Supreme Court chief justice who is credibly accused of preying on teens when he was in his 30s.
Yet, when asked which candidate she will support on Dec. 12, Ivey sided with Moore, her fellow Republican, over Doug Jones, the Democrat in the race.
Why? Ivey said she wishes to see a Republican hold this U.S. Senate seat representing Alabama.
“I believe in the Republican Party, what we stand for, and most important, we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on things like the Supreme Court justices, other appointments the Senate has to confirm and make major decisions. So that’s what I plan to do, vote for Republican nominee Roy Moore,” she told reporters last Friday.
What about Moore’s accusers who have come forward in recent weeks?
“I certainly have no reason to disbelieve any of them,” Ivey said. “The timing is a little curious. But at the same time, I have no reason to disbelieve them.”
It appears Ivey is more concerned with helping Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., do his job than the one that most directly has an impact on her constituents — smartly growing Alabama’s economy.
Ivey needs to look no farther than our neighbor to the west. Joe Max Higgins, the super-successful east Mississippi economic developer who was featured on 60 Minutes in 2016, had a message for officials in his state: Your social issues are making the job of growing the economy much more difficult.
Higgins cited Mississippi’s anti-LGBT law and a fight over the Confederate flag as two reasons the state is no longer “relevant” in the competitive world of economic development, he told the Columbus (Miss.) Dispatch newspaper.
Turn things around, he warned, or “Mississippi is going to be natural selection in reverse.”
This is a glimpse into Alabama’s future if it sends Roy Moore to the U.S. Senate. Like Mississippi, we, too, must contend with weak public-school performance and a sordid past of racial intolerance. The election of the man Ivey endorsed Friday will only make the task of selling Alabama more difficult.