Ron Sparks, Office of Rural Development eliminated under new administration

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A spokesperson for newly-minted Governor Kay Ivey says the governor will sign an executive order to abolish the Office of Rural Development.

Ron Sparks, pictured here, has lost his job. He headed up the Office of Rural Development, which will be eliminated under the new state administration, WHNT News 19 has learned.

The move makes director Ron Sparks the second state official that the Governor's Office has confirmed to lose his job under Ivey, the first being Rebekah Mason's husband, Jon Mason, who headed up SERVE Alabama, a faith-based community organization.

Governor Bentley created the Office of Rural Development in 2011 by combining the Black Belt Action Commission and the Alabama Rural Action Commission, which were both established under Governor Bob Riley.

Bentley tapped Ron Sparks to head up the agency. Bentley defeated Sparks, a Democrat, in the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

The Office of Rural Development most recently made news by announcing their partnership to help provide Baby Boxes to new parents in Alabama. Baby Boxes are designed to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Baby Box

As far as what will happen to this initiative, WHNT News 19 reached out to the Baby Box Co. to ask more.

"The Alabama universal Baby Box program has the educational contributions from the state, the program funding and logistics secured so these changes will not impact the program," a spokesperson said. "The Baby Box program remains committed to expecting and new parents in Alabama and worldwide."


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