Governor Robert Bentley is in his second term as Alabama’s chief executive. He continues to be committed to creating jobs for the people of Alabama. In 2010, he was elected the 53rd Governor of the state of Alabama on his promise to put Alabamians back to work. When Governor Bentley took office in 2011, the state’s unemployment rate was 9.3 percent. Governor Bentley promised the people of Alabama he would not accept a salary until the State reached full employment (5.2% unemployment). To date, Governor Bentley has never accepted a salary as Governor. Although, given the reduction in unemployment Alabama has seen over the past four years, he is getting closer to receiving a paycheck.
During Governor Bentley’s first four years in office, Alabama gained more than 80,000 jobs. In addition, Governor Bentley has recruited over 70,000 new, future jobs, many of which have yet to go online as new facilities are being constructed. Alabama’s manufacturing sector has grown under Governor Bentley with great gains in the automotive and aerospace industry. In July 2012, Governor Bentley announced Airbus would forever help change Alabama’s economic landscape as it begins to assemble commercial aircraft in Mobile. Airbus, headquartered in France, will build airplanes in Mobile with the skill and expertise of Alabama workers. From the time ground was broken in 2013, to the first delivery of the Airbus A320, over 3,000 Alabama workers will have had a good, well-paying job that they and their families need.
During his first term in office, Governor Bentley led the state government to become more efficient by cutting unnecessary redundancies and combining similar state agencies. Under Governor Bentley’s leadership the state saves $1.2 billion annually.
On Governor Bentley’s 100th day in office, Alabama experienced one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. More than 250 Alabamians were killed as 62 powerful tornadoes damaged two-thirds of the state on April 27, 2011. Governor Bentley was praised for his great leadership, strength and stability in the aftermath of the storms. He personally visited each community in the storms’ paths and lead local governments to expedite the massive cleanup effort. Governor Bentley established the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund to fund unmet needs of individuals. His Administration is now engaged in a massive long-term recovery and the greatest reconstruction effort in the state since the Civil War.
Keeping true to his mission of job creation and retention, Governor Bentley drove efforts to keep the Wrangler Distribution plant in Hackleburg, a small town in northwest Alabama which was wiped out by an E-F5 tornado during the April 27 outbreak. Governor Bentley convinced Wrangler, the town’s largest employer, to rebuild the company’s plant, serving as a cornerstone in the rebirth of the Marion County town.
During his time in office, Governor Bentley led legislative efforts to increase incentives for new businesses and industries, to streamline government services and reduce spending. In December 2013, Governor Bentley announced that his administration saved taxpayers one billion dollars in just three years by right-sizing Alabama’s government.
Prior to becoming Governor, Dr. Bentley served two terms in the Alabama House of Representatives. He represented House District 63 in Tuscaloosa. He was born and raised in Shelby County and graduated from the University of Alabama. He was commissioned Captain in the United States Air Force. Upon completion of his military service, he completed his residency in Dermatology at the University of Alabama School of Medicine.
Dr. Bentley moved to Tuscaloosa in 1974 and established his own dermatology practice.
Governor Bentley currently chairs the Interstate Mining Compact Commission and the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council. He is Vice-Chair of the National Governor’s Association Economic Development and Commerce Committee, for which he was previously the chairman. He has also served as chair of the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission and the Southern States Energy Board. He has twice been the chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission and co-chair of the National Governor’s Association Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse.
Governor Bentley has four sons with seven granddaughters and one grandson.
Watch the RGA’s American Comeback feature on Governor Bentley: