MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced Wednesday that she is running for reelection.

Ivey, 76, made the announcement in a video message released by her campaign. The Republican emphasized her administration’s investment in infrastructure, job creation, Alabama’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and its low unemployment rate.

“Alabama is working again, and the best is yet to come,” Ivey said in her distinct southern drawl.

“The COVID crisis has tested us all, but together we’ve met the call with the same things that make us who we are — faith, resilience and a good-old fashioned bucket load of common sense. The result: a future brighter than any other in America,” Ivey said.

Ivey faced both praise and criticism for her handling of the pandemic. Unlike some Southern governors, she issued a statewide mask order, a move that was criticized by some conservatives but won her praise from health officials and others for following scientific recommendations. The state mask order has ended.

Ivey is the state’s second female governor and the first Republican woman elected to the position.

She had been lieutenant governor when she succeeded Gov. Robert Bentley in 2017. Bentley suddenly resigned in the midst of an impeachment investigation partly centered on his relationship with an aide.

She won election to her first full term the next year, defeating Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox as the GOP dashed Democrats’ hopes of making gains in the deeply red state. Ivey, who is two years younger than President Joe Biden, faced indirect questions about her health during the 2018 race, but easily won her party’s nomination and general election.

Kim Chandler , The Associated Press

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