Robert J. Bentley is the 53rd Governor of Alabama. He succeeded the former Governor Bob Riley on January 17, 2011. A Republican politician, Bentley was previously a member of the Alabama House of Representatives (2003 – 2010).
Early Life and Education
Robert Bentley was born on February 3, 1943 to father David Harford Bentley and mother Mattie Boyd. He was raised in a middle-class family in Columbiana, Alabama and went to Shelby County High School. At the high school, Bentley was engaged in debate and student union.
Graduating from Shelby County High School, Robert Bentley joined the University of Alabama for double undergraduate degrees in chemistry and biology. Then, he enrolled in the University of Alabama School of Medicine in the pursuit of becoming a physician.
While at the medical school, Bentley met his love Martha Dianne Jones. The couple married in 1965 and remained together for 50 years. During this period, they had four children and seven grandchildren.
Despite going through such a long journey together, Bentley and Jones decided to part their ways in August 2015.
The very first professional career Robert Bentley ever had is when he joined the Carraway Methodist Hospital as an intern. A year later, he left the hospital to join the US Air Force as a captain and general medical officer. Soon after completing his service in the US Military, Bentley went to the University of Alabama for a diploma in dermatology. Afterward, he commenced dermatology-related businesses, starting with opening his own dermatology practice in Tuscaloosa.
Recognized as one of the best doctors in the dermatological sector, Bentley walked political path on the side. He made a bid for a seat at the Alabama Seat Senate in 1998 but lost narrowly to Phil Poole. After this failure, he remained quiet for the next four years and ran for the Alabama State House of Representatives. Having served in the House of Representatives for four years, Bentley joined the State House in 2006.
As a health expert himself, Bentley largely focused on improving primary health care sector and urged organ donation. Likewise, he introduced a new legislation to increase scholarships for medical education in affiliation with the Alabama Medical Educational Consortium. Besides health sector, Robert also contributed in other economic sectors. For instance, he opposed tax increase, a policy which would immensely affect the low-income people in the society. Moreover, Bentley also worked on various committees such as Education Appropriations Committee, Boards and Commissions Committee and Agriculture and Forestry Committee.
In July 2010, Bentley successfully ran for Governor of Alabama by gaining an absolute victory against Byrne with 56% votes in favor. He assumed the office on January 17, 2011. He again bade for the position in 2014 gubernatorial election and won with 63% votes. As a Governor for over five years now, Bentley has been productive for Alabama’s economy. He is mainly focused on creating jobs and decreasing the unemployment rate to 5.2% – he even vowed to not accept a salary until he reaches the unemployment rate target. Besides, Bentley has always been tough on illegal immigration and gambling.
Alongside a booming political career, Bentley has also been caught up in several controversies. When he sacked Spencer Collier from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the incident sparked a significant chaos. Following the incident, Bentley was accused of engaging in sexual affairs with Rebekah Caldwell Mason. As the recording evidence were released, Bentley admitted to the wrongdoing and apologized. However, the controversy didn’t end there. Soon, the Alabama State Auditor accused Bentley of misusing state property for relationships with Mason.
Trump and Mason
US President Donald Trump and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley hadn’t been good friends to each other forever. Bentley was particularly upset with Trump’s comments on women – he reached the state whereby he was no longer wishing to vote Trump. However, the situation seems to have changed as the campaign went by. Robert Bentley warmly welcomed Trump to Alabama for his campaign.
Great visit w/ President @realDonaldTrump. Talking Alabama's remarkable role in the new Trump Adm. & how we will all #MakeAmericaGreatAgain pic.twitter.com/64XyCl8Pyz
— Governor Robert Bentley (@GovRBentley) December 17, 2016