MONTGOMERY — Governor Robert Bentley delivered the State of the State Address to a Joint Session of the Alabama Legislature Tuesday evening in the Old House Chamber of the State Capitol.
Governor Bentley gave an update on his mission to Put Alabamians Back to Work, stating that “More people in Alabama are working than at any time in our Administration. Alabama’s labor force is the largest it’s been in five years. And tonight we can proudly announce we have now reached the milestone of 2 Million Alabamians in the workforce.”
He also gave a glowing update on the the state’s largest investment in roads and bridges in the history of Alabama. “The Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, or ATRIP is a resounding success. The first-of-its-kind infrastructure program is a hallmark of this administration and the tremendous cooperation we enjoy between state and local governments. Since the first project began five years ago, you’ve seen across our Great State hundreds of roads improved and dangerous bridges replaced. Those orange barrels on county roads, asphalt pavers on highways and Alabama workers manning equipment to replace crumbling bridges are the results of ATRIP, Alabama’s Infrastructure Success Story.”
Bentley reminded us that, “When there is an obstacle along the course of this race we run, we will “find a way or we will make one.” Bentley said that when he was elected, they launched an ambitious effort to save Alabama taxpayers money because Alabama was “essentially broke, savings accounts had been wiped out and federal stimulus dollars were gone.” The governor said they knew there were ways to trim the size of state government and save taxpayers millions of dollars.
“We launched an ambitious plan in 2012 with a goal to save one billion dollars by the end of our Administration,” said Bentley. “Not only did we reach that goal, but we accomplished it much earlier than expected. Alabama led the nation in our road to a billion dollars in savings. And I am proud to tell you tonight, that Alabama taxpayers have now saved a stunning $1.2 Billion annually.”
He then spoke on the deadly April 2011 storms and our state’s progress to make communities safer. Governor Bentley proudly said that they, “resolved to do everything we can to protect the people of this state, from that historic disaster we commissioned the Tornado Recovery Action Council, and now have in place 13 of 20 recommendations made in the TRAC Report. And we’ve dedicated ourselves to making our communities safer. Today there are now 275 community safe rooms across Alabama, and 4-thousand more individual safe rooms.”
Governor Bentley spoke about the future of the state with the strategic course of action plan aimed at fundamentally changing Alabama, “opening doors of opportunity, clearing the path to prosperity and solving decades old problems,” said Bentley. “Alabama’s Great State 2019 Plan is our strategic course of action – to keep us on course – laser focused on the purpose we’ve been called to carry out by the one who ordained our place of service. Great State 2019 Plan sets its sights on educating and training our people, while connecting and constructing basic opportunities for all our citizens. This bold course of action has guided us, and will continue to be our map for the next two years. Specifically focusing on Alabama’s approximately 55 rural counties, we are directly addressing obstacles that stand in the way of our state’s potential for greatness, in education, healthcare, access to technology, job growth and economic opportunity.”
The governor also touched on Alabama’s role protecting the US-Mexico Border, the Trump Administration and the impact it is having on the state, the Affordable Care Act, where the state stands in education, problems like persistent poverty, and the plan of action to address the state’s opioid painkiller epidemic. Read Governor Bentley’s full address here: