By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) told an audience of Republican supporters that his favorite part about being Governor is leaving Montgomery two days a week and visiting with the people of Alabama in their home towns. Bentley said, “Everywhere I go I learn things.”
On Thursday the Governor was in Pell City in St. Clair County on Thursday to promote economic development, encourage education reforms, meet local leaders, and launch his 2014 re-election campaign.
Gov. Bentley said that the people he meets in his travels don’t want to meet Robert Bentley they want to meet and talk with the Governor of Alabama.
The conservative Republican Governor visited the Pell City Steak House, Interstate Trucking Services, and met with the St. Clair County Economic Development Council at Jefferson State Community College’s St. Clair County Campus.
Governor Bentley finished the evening at a campaign kickoff event at Sammy’s Touch and Go at the Pell City Airport hosted by the St. Clair County Republican Party as well as Judge Phil Seay (R), Judge Jim Hill (R), Judge Robert Minor, local business owner Mike Fricker and prominent Moody attorney Bill Weathington among others. Gov. Bentley was introduced by St. Clair County Republican Party Chairman and prominent local attorney Lance Bell. Chairman Bell said that he and other local Republicans wanted to do something to help re-elect Bentley so they organized Thursday night’s event.
Governor Bentley told the crowd of well wishers and local officials that in 2010 he had won every race in St. Clair County and for that he was grateful. During his bid to become Governor Bentley said that 72% of voters in St. Clair County supported him.
Bentley listed the $billion ATRIP road improvements program as one of the major accomplishment of his first term. Bentley also listed bringing the state out of the Great Recession without raising taxes, recruiting almost 50,000 new jobs to the state, and reforming state government (particularly information technology) as accomplishments of his first term.
Four years ago, state Representative Robert Bentley (R) from Tuscaloosa kicked off a long shot gubernatorial campaign in a crowded field that included former head of the state two year college system Senator Bradley Byrne (R) from Montrose, businessman and former Governor Fob James’ son Tim James (R), former ADECA head Bill Johnson (R), Congressman Artur Davis (D), former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (R), and Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Ron Sparks (D).
Bentley faces a far less crowded field in this election. No Democrat has yet qualified to run against the popular Governor and the only Republican primary challenger that Bentley faces to this point is former Morgan County Commissioner Stacy Lee George who is viewed as a long shot by most political observers.
St. Clair County is one of the most conservative Republican counties in the state.