By Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford
Since Governor Bentley’s relationship with Rebekah Mason became public last week, there have been calls for him to resign. Those calls have not come just because of his relationship with Rebekah Mason. Governor Bentley isn’t the first person in Montgomery to do what he did, and he probably won’t be the last.
The reason Gov. Bentley should resign is because of the people he hurt, the allegations against him, and the crippling affect he is now having on our ability to recruit jobs to Alabama.
What Gov. Bentley did has hurt a lot of people. He has hurt his own family and Rebekah Mason’s family. He has hurt Secretary Spencer Collier and the Collier family, as well as the five law enforcement officers he fired or transferred and their families. He has hurt the members of his cabinet, many of whom fear that if they come forward with what they know they will be fired and disparaged like the governor did to Sec. Collier.
But if the rumors are true and a grand jury is being impaneled to investigate the governor, then one good thing will come out of this: the members of the governor’s cabinet and staff will finally be free to speak honestly and under oath without fear of repercussion.
Last, but certainly not least, Gov. Bentley has hurt the taxpayers who not only have been embarrassed by the governor’s behavior and will now have to pay the costs of the investigations into the governor’s actions, but are also losing out on jobs and economic development because no business wants to sit down with the governor or any member of his cabinet anymore.
Gov. Bentley ran on jobs. His slogan was “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.” He ran on how he wouldn’t take a salary until the state got full employment. But after 6 years, it’s the governor who has done a job on us!
His actions are costing Alabama jobs. There are business owners and leaders of industry who don’t want to sit down with this governor because of the image of corruption that has engulfed the state. We have lost so much opportunity because of this mess. How in the world can we bring anyone else in? What CEO or other corporate group would want to come down here right now?
We are competing against Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and other states that are going to use all of this against us. The governor has provided our competitors with an unfair advantage, and it is absolutely costing us economically.
The governor has lost the confidence of the people, the legislature, and those in the business community worldwide!
When Gov. Bentley was campaigning, he said Alabama needs a doctor. But this doctor has put our state on life support! We’re still sick, and our doctor needs a doctor of his own.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Rebekah Mason had resigned from the governor’s staff. But would she have ever resigned if they hadn’t gotten caught? Of course not. Her resignation is also too little, too late. It’s a nice, symbolic gesture, but it doesn’t change what the governor has already done, and it doesn’t repair the damage to our state’s reputation.
Gov. Bentley has hurt the people of Alabama. He has hurt his own family, and many others. He has been dishonest, lost his credibility, and has likely broken the law. He has lost the confidence of the legislature and the business community, and now it is costing Alabama jobs. A complaint has already been filed with the state’s Ethics Commission, and it has been reported that both the state Attorney General and federal prosecutors are investigating the governor and Mrs. Mason.
For the good of the state, it’s time for Governor Bentley to resign.
Rep. Craig Ford is a Democrat from Gadsden and the Minority Leader in the Alabama House of Representatives.