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State school board member weighs in on Ivey’s appearance, apologizes

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

While Gov. Kay Ivey was announcing Wednesday the extension of her statewide face mask mandate and its impact on schools, a state board of education member was commenting on her appearance.

“She is gaining weight,” Wayne Reynolds wrote in the comment section of an livestream of Ivey’s press conference. He later expanded on the statement, saying she looked heavy in the suit she was wearing, the outlet reported.

Ivey responded with this retort: “A lady never discusses her age or her figure — a true gentleman doesn’t either.” 

Later Wednesday, Reynolds posted an apology on Facebook.

“My original intention was to comment that she looks healthy after recovering from her cancer treatment and am glad to see her doing well,” he said. “As a cancer survivor myself, I am acutely aware of the toll cancer treatment can take on your body, so thriving after cancer treatment is a good thing. Unfortunately my post did not convey this message. I therefore sincerely apologize.”

Late last year, Ivey was treated with radiation for Stage 1 lung cancer. In January, her office said she was cancer free.

Twitter users were quick Wednesday to chide Reynolds for his remarks.

In a written statement, Alabama Democratic Women called the comments disrespectful, inappropriate and representative of a broader culture of casual sexism.

“Women all over Alabama know what it is like to be subjected to unfair criticism on the basis of their appearance or weight,” the statement said. “We need to cultivate an environment where individuals are judged on the basis of their skill and proficiency. Alabama elected officials should be discussing policy, not the physical appearance of policymakers.”  

Reynolds, a Republican from Athens, was elected in 2018. His north Alabama district includes part of Limestone and DeKalb counties and Madison, Jackson and Etowah counties.

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