Robert J. Bentley

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Robert J. Bentley
Robert Bentley.jpg
Bentley campaign photo (2009)
53rd Governor of Alabama
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 17, 2011
Lieutenant Kay Ivey
Preceded by Bob Riley
Member of the Alabama House of Representatives
from the 63rd district
In office
2002–2010
Preceded by Tim Parker
Succeeded by Bill Poole
Personal details
Born Robert Julian Bentley
(1943-02-03) February 3, 1943 (age 71)[1]
Columbiana, Alabama, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Dianne Bentley
Children 4
Residence Governor's Mansion (while in office)
Tuscaloosa, Alabama (personal)
Alma mater University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Religion Southern Baptist
Military service
Service/branch  United States Air Force
Years of service 1969–1975
Rank Captain

Robert Julian Bentley (born February 3, 1943) is an American politician and medical doctor who is the 53rd and current Governor of Alabama.[1][2] A member of the Republican Party, Bentley was elected Governor in 2010 and was sworn in on January 17, 2011.

Born in Columbiana, Alabama, Bentley served in the United States Air Force as general medical officer at Pope Air Force Base in Fayetteville, North Carolina from 1969 to 1975, leaving with the rank of a captain. He earned his M.D. from the University of Alabama School of Medicine before entering private practice and opening a series of dermatology clinics throughout the southern United States.

Bentley was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2002 and served a total of two four-year terms from 2002 to 2010. After term-limited Governor Bob Riley could not seek reelection, Bentley announced his intentions to run for the Republican nomination for Governor. Bentley won in a seven candidate primary and faced Democrat Ron Sparks, the outgoing Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture, in the general election.[3] Bentley received just over 58% of the statewide vote and won by a margin of over 230,000 votes--the largest margin recorded for a Republican in an open-seat race in Alabama history.

Early life, education, and Air Force service[edit]

Bentley is a native of Columbiana, Alabama, in Shelby County. His parents, Mattie Boyd (née Vick) and David Harford Bentley, did not complete school past junior high. Bentley grew up in Columbiana, where he was a member of Shelby County High School's 1961 state championship debate team, and he became student body president in his senior year of high school.[4]

After graduating from Shelby County High School at the top of his class, Bentley enrolled at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. While at Alabama, Bentley majored in Chemistry and Biology and graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in three years.[4]

From an early age, Robert Bentley wanted to become a physician. After graduating from UA, he began his studies at The University of Alabama School of Medicine. During his first year of medical school, he met Martha Dianne Jones of Montgomery. They were married on July 24, 1965. He graduated with his M.D. in 1968 and began his one year internship at Carraway Methodist Hospital in Birmingham.[5]

Bentley joined the United States Air Force in 1969 as a captain. He served as a general medical officer at Pope Air Force Base in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He served as an interim hospital commander for 90 days near the end of his tenure.

Dermatologist career[edit]

Following his military service, Bentley began a three-year residency at the University of Alabama in dermatology. He then opened his dermatology practice in Tuscaloosa. He founded a number of small businesses, the most successful of which is Alabama Dermatology Associates. As President of Alabama Dermatology Associates, Bentley managed the practice’s growth into one of the largest dermatology practices in the Southeastern United States.[5] Bentley is a board certified dermatologist, and he served two terms as President of the Alabama Dermatology Society. He has also been named to “Best Doctors in America,” selected by his peers.[4] Bentley is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology and the Medical Association of Alabama.

Alabama House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

In 1998, Bentley ran for the Alabama State Senate as a Republican against incumbent Democrat Phil Poole, losing by fifty-eight votes.[6]

In 2002 Bentley was elected to the Alabama State House of Representatives from Tuscaloosa County with almost 65% of the vote.[5] In 2006 Bentley ran unopposed for re-election to the State House.

Tenure[edit]

In the Alabama House of Representatives, Bentley made it a priority to train primary care health care providers and to increase organ donation. He is responsible for two major revisions of Alabama’s organ donor laws: one specific to corneas and the other reinforcing the rights of organ donors by making it difficult to challenge their decisions.[5]

Bentley helped establish the Alabama Medical Educational Consortium. His efforts included work on legislation to expand scholarships for medical training. Questions were raised by Sparks camp during the gubernatorial campaign as to whether Bentley's son, while in medical school, benefited from his father's involvement with the consortium.[7]

Bentley is opposed to increasing taxes. He has signed the No New Taxes Pledge by the Americans for Tax Reform.[8]

In April 2010, Bentley's self-drafted Reemployment Act of 2010 won unanimous approval in both houses of the Alabama State Legislature, and was signed by Governor Bob Riley on April 22.[9]

In 2008, Bentley was elected as a Republican Presidential Delegate for Mike Huckabee. At the Republican National Convention he represented Alabama on the Republican Platform Committee.[4][5]

Committee assignments[edit]

During his time in Montgomery he served on the Education Appropriations Committee, the Boards and Commissions Committee, the Agriculture and Forestry Committee, and was a member of the Tuscaloosa County Legislative Delegation. He also served as the Vice-Chairman of the Internal Affairs Committee.[10]

2010 gubernatorial election[edit]

In the June 1, 2010 primary race, Bentley surprised political analysts by finishing second ahead of Tim James to reach a runoff election with Bradley Byrne.[11] One of James' supporters, former U.S. Representative Sonny Callahan, endorsed Bentley in the runoff.[12]

In the July 13 run-off election, Bentley defeated Bradley Byrne by a 56%-44% margin to claim the Republican nomination for Governor.

Bentley has stated he does not approve of gambling in the State of Alabama, but supports a referendum for its citizens to vote on whether to approve its legality.[13]

Governor of Alabama[edit]

Bentley promised the people of Alabama that he would not accept a salary until the state unemployment level reached a certain percentage. As of August 2013, Bentley has not accepted a gubernatorial salary.[14]Elected in 2010, Governor Robert Bentley immediately went to work creating well-paying jobs for the people of Alabama. When Governor Bentley took office in 2011, the state's unemployment rate was 9.3 percent. Today Alabama has the lowest unemployment rate in the south at 6.1%. Governor Bentley continues to keep the promise he made to Alabamians, that he would not accept a salary until Alabama reaches full employment (5.2%). On his second day in office, Governor Bentley demonstrated his commitment to recruit industries that create jobs the people of Alabama need and deserve. Governor Bentley recruited Golden Dragon Copper Tubing bringing 500 well-paying to Alabama's Wilcox County, the poorest county in the United States with an unemployment rate consistently in double digits. A new major industry hasn't located in Wilcox County since 1967. In his first three years in office, Alabama gained nearly 60,000 jobs. In addition, Governor Bentley has recruited over 40,000 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-thousand Alabama workers will have had a good, well-paying job that they and their families need.


On Governor Bentley's 100th day in office, Alabama faced the worst national disasters in the states history and one of the worst disasters in national history.[citation needed] More than 250 Alabamians were killed as 62 tornadoes touched down in a single day, April 27, 2011. More than 2/3rds of the state was affected in this weather event. Bentley was widely praised for his leadership, strength, and stability in the aftermath of the Tornado outbreak.[citation needed] He personally visited each community effected by the storms and the local governments to expedite the massive cleanup effort.[citation needed] Bentley established the Governor's Emergency Relief Fund to assist with funding the unmet needs of storm survivors.[citation needed] The Bentley Administration is now engaged in the greatest reconstruction effort since the Civil War.[citation needed]

Bentley committed to saving Alabama tax payers 1 Billion dollars in annual savings by the conclusion of his first term.[citation needed] He committed to doing so by right sizing Alabama's government and increasing efficiency.[citation needed] In December of 2013 Governor Bentley announced that the 1 billion dollar savings goal had been achieved nearly a year early.[citation needed] He was able to accomplish this goal without raising taxes on the families of Alabama.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Bentley and wife Dianne have four sons and six granddaughters. He is an active member of First Baptist Church Tuscaloosa where he serves as a Deacon and Sunday School Teacher. At FBC Tuscaloosa, he has been the Chairman of the Board of Deacons four times and a member of the Youth for Christ Advisory Board as well as the Family Counseling Advisory Board. Currently, he serves on the Board of Trustees for Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, Alabama and Judson College in Marion, Alabama. He is also on the Board of Trustees of the Alabama Medical Education Consortium, which he helped to found.[5] Bentley was the 2009 recipient of the Christian Coalition of Alabama’s Statesmanship Award.[15]

Bentley, a long-time season ticket holder for Alabama baseball, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to get the 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide baseball season started.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Michael Tomberlin (May 17, 2010). "Campaign 2010: Robert Bentley criss-crosses Alabama, focuses on meeting voters in bid to win governor's office". The Birmingham News. Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  2. ^ The Associated Press (January 17, 2011). "Prepared text of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's inauguration speech". al.com. Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  3. ^ The Associated Press (November 2, 2010). "Robert Bentley wins Alabama governor's race". The Birmingham News. Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Robert Bentley for Governor 2010 - Biography". Robertbentley2010.com. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Robert J. Bentley Bio". Business Council of Alabama. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  6. ^ Short, Gail (January 2013). Business Alabama http://www.businessalabama.com/Business-Alabama/January-2013/From-the-Farmhouse-to-the-Statehouse-Gov-Robert-Bentley/ |url= missing title (help). Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Montgomery Independent: Did Rep. Bentley funnel state aid to son's medical school education?". Montgomery Independent. October 29, 2010. Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  8. ^ Huckabee, Mike (2010-06-29). "Blogs - Huck PAC Endorses Dr. Robert Bentley For Governor In Alabama". Huck PAC. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  9. ^ "Bentley’s Ala. jobs bill nears passage". TuscaloosaNews.com. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  10. ^ "Welcome to the Alabama State Legislature". State of Alabama. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  11. ^ Charles J. Dean (June 21, 2010). "Robert Bentley formally kicks off campaign in Alabama GOP governor's race". The Birmingham News. Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Bentley and Byrne seek support of recent rivals". Montgomery Advertiser. June 21, 2010. 
  13. ^ The Associated Press (January 15, 2011). "Alabama gambling vote unlikely in first year, says Gov.-elect Robert Bentley". al.com. Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  14. ^ Steve Flowers (August 16, 2013). "Alabama no longer elects “boy governors”". Gulf Coast News Today. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  15. ^ "CCA ccanews". Ccalabama.org. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  16. ^ "Alabama-Alcorn State Postgame Quotes and Notes". Rolltide.com. 2011-02-18. Retrieved 2011-02-27. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Bob Riley
Republican nominee for Governor of Alabama
2010
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
Bob Riley
Governor of Alabama
January 17, 2011–present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Joe Biden
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within Alabama
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise John Boehner
as Speaker of the House of Representatives
Preceded by
Pat Quinn
as Governor of Illinois
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside Alabama
Succeeded by
Paul LePage
as Governor of Maine