Governor Robert Bentley may not runaway in his second bid to become the GOP's nominee for the state's highest office, but he won't have many obstacles in his way.
Two challengers, Stacy George and Bob Starkey are also vying for the GOP gubernatorial nod, but neither has a particularly threatening campaign.
As a matter of fact, Bob Starkey doesn't even have a campaign to speak of. He qualified to get his name on the June 2 ballot, but all efforts to contact him were unsuccessful. Starkey also doesn't have a registered campaign committee with the Alabama Secretary of State.
George at least has a platform. "We will get a lottery in this state" George told reporters during a press conference last week in Montgomery. "If I have to go to everybody's hometown and tell the people, the fire departments and the rescue squads, hey the legislature is holding up your money, now if we have to do that then we'll do it" George said. "and we'll fight Mississippi gambling and the casinos in Alabama that's already operating."
George also pledged to tackle prison reform to address overcrowding. As a corrections officer currently working at Limestone Correctional Facility, George estimates that the state could save up to $50 million by initiating changes to the Department of Corrections.
Governor Bentley maintains that his focus is on job growth, but also wants to continue progress he says his administration has made in other areas.
"We still have work to do on expanding pre-k to every classroom in the state and we also have to address corrections."
Gov. Bentley pledged that he wouldn't take a salary during his first term in office until the state reached what's widely considered to be "full" employment, an approximate 5% unemployment rate. Bentley vowed to not take a salary if elected to a second term as well.
"I will keep my promise" the governor said. "If we get to 5.2% unemployment that means anybody who wants a job can have a job so my emphasis is on people. It's just a way of measuring whether or not people have a job when we talk about my salary."
Since the governor took office three and a half years ago the state's unemployment rate has decreased at a consistent rate. However during that same period, more people stopped looking for work while the number of people with jobs went down according to the Department of Labor.
"Jobs is still my number one focus" the governor said.
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