MONTGOMERY — Gov. Kay Ivey said this morning it’s too soon to say if she’ll try to keep the office in 2018.

“If I were in your shoes, I’d probably ask that same question,” Ivey told The Decatur Daily when asked this morning. “But right now, my priorities are to steady the ship of state and improve our image.

"That question has merit and opportunity, but I have a little time to evaluate that one. Right now, we’re focused on the immediate priorities.”

Asked if the Senate-approved legislation to build new prisons in the state was one of those priorities, Ivey said she is evaluating the proposal and meeting with officials.

“We have to do something about our prisons, no questions asked,” she said. The Alabama House now has the prison bill.

Ivey, 72, was a candidate for governor in 2010 until party officials asked her to instead run for lieutenant governor.

She became governor on Monday after Gov. Robert Bentley, 74, resigned just after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges related to the use of his campaign fundraising account. Bentley has been accused of having an affair with his former adviser and using state resources to hide it.

Ivey appeared at her first Alabama State Board of Education meeting this morning. She’s a former high school teacher.

“Public education is the backbone of this great state, and it will be given priority in my administration,” she said.

“Alabama truly is a great state, and we’re moving in the right direction now,” she said.

mary.sell@TimesDaily.com. Twitter @DD_MarySell.

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