By Byron Shehee
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY —Governor Robert Bentley held a press conference on Wednesday to highlight his administration’s accomplishments from his first term as Governor.
Governor Bentley issued a comprehensive 91-page document with accomplishments from his entire administration. Among those touted accomplishments were improvements to Alabama’s education numbers, transportation improvements, and businesses development. The administration said the document also serves as an accountability and transparency measure for the Governor to Alabamians.
Governor Bentley said, “This document reflects the hard work of my Cabinet, staff and thousands of state employees who are committed to serving the people of Alabama. We have compiled this document so that Alabamians can see just how far our state has come since January of 2011. I am extremely proud of our accomplishments, and I plan to continue on the same path for the next four years. I am committed to doing what is best for the citizens of Alabama and my Cabinet and staff shares that commitment.”
In the report Gov. Bentley’s administration highlighted the creation of more than 63,000 new jobs with Alabama’s wage and employment numbers at their highest point since 2008. Also included in the report were the more than $1.2 billion in taxpayer dollars that were identified and saved annually during the Governor’s first term.
The Governor proudly told the success story of the Office of Information Technology which implements compatibility standards throughout the state and employs simple cost-saving measures such as buying in bulk across state agencies. In addition to Office of Information and Technology the governor’s administration created JobLink – Alabama’s free online jobs database. This database registers active job orders and surpassed the 20,000 jobs mark on several occasions.
Bentley spoke about his commitment to education and specifically the graduation rate which is at 86 percent. That percentage is significantly higher than the target set for the end of the first term of the Bentley Administration and further highlighted the state’s commitment to increased standards. Bentley also lauded the state’s high-quality, voluntary Pre-Kindergarten education program. This program resulted in thousands of additional students receiving the opportunity to build a more solid educational foundation for the future. One of the administration’s more aggressive projects was the consolidation of state law enforcement that created increased efficiency in numerous state agencies and resulted in both savings taxpayers’ money and increased law enforcement efficiency.
While the consolidation of law enforcement agencies was very ambitious, the governor also made the single largest investment Alabama’s road and bridges infrastructure in state history through a programs called Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP).
Governor Bentley closed by thanking those who helped him accomplish these initiatives and said he will continue to work with the same commitment to improve the state during his second term.