Sparks, Bentley hold last Ala. governor debate

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's candidates for governor used their last debate Tuesday night to criticize each other on salaries and education.

Democrat Ron Sparks and Republican Robert Bentley faced off at Athens State University one week before Alabama's general election.

Bentley, a state representative from Tuscaloosa, said he took only $1 of his legislative salary while campaigning because he couldn't pay full attention to his legislative duties, but Sparks continued to accept his $79,000 salary as state agriculture commissioner.

Sparks said he has continued to perform his duties as agriculture commission, and he recalled that Republican Gov. Bob Riley kept accepting his salary while running for re-election in 2006.

Sparks questioned whether one of Bentley's sons went to medical school on a state scholarship while Bentley opposes an education lottery for scholarships. Bentley said his son paid his own way and still owes $160,000 for his education.

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