Bentley meets with UA students


Katherine Martin

With just 34 days remaining until the November gubernatorial election, Republican candidate Dr. Robert Bentley spent Monday night eating pizza and shaking hands with UA students.

“We truly believe that the people of Alabama will elect us as the next governor,” Bentley said. “You need to elect a West Alabama governor and someone from the University of Alabama, Roll Tide.”

Robert Hanson, a senior majoring in mathematics education, said he attended the meet and greet because he hasn’t decided whom he’ll be voting for come November.

Hanson said he hoped to gain more knowledge of Bentley’s platform.

“I’ve been following the state race pretty closely now, and I wanted to hear what Bentley has to say,” Hanson said.

Hanson said he thinks there are a lot of undecided voters on the UA campus who could benefit from attending the event.

“I think meet and greets like this are a good idea for candidates,” Hanson said. “Especially ones like [Bentley] who’s from around here. It’s important to keep up with your base.”

Rob Maxwell, a senior majoring in economics, said education and labor are the main issues that will influence his vote in the upcoming election.

“I want to get a better feel for him as a candidate,” Maxwell said. “In Alabama, most candidates’ views are homogenous. You have to do some research to really see what their views are.”

Bentley said he hoped that students got to know more about him and realize that he has plans for Alabama and knowledge of government.

“We have a number of challenges that face us in the state,” Bentley said. “In fact, we have a lot of challenges, these challenges all relate to uncertainty.”

The number one issue, Bentley said, is stimulating the economy, and to do that, he plans to put people back to work.

“There are 200,000 people out of work in Alabama,” Bentley said. “These people don’t want a handout, they want a job. I want Alabama workers in Alabama jobs.”

Bentley said he would honor his pledge to not take a salary until Alabama reaches full employment.

“I want to be reminded of the pledge I’ve made to the people of Alabama,” Bentley said, “I am going to honor that pledge. I want Alabama people working again.”

Another issue Bentley addressed was the health care bill. Bentley said the health care bill would hurt businesses both large and small.

“I am very much opposed of the government taking over health care,” Bentley said. “We need accessible and affordable health care, we really do.”

Bentley said states should act as “laboratories for change” that allow the government to try new things.

Bentley said his opponent, Ron Sparks, was “the most liberal Democratic candidate that has ever run in the state of Alabama.”

“He’s the most liberal candidate,” Bentley said. “He just doesn’t know it.”

When it comes to immigration, Bentley said he believes that Alabama needs a law tailored to the states needs.

“I admire the state of Arizona and what they’re doing for their state,” Bentley said.

Bentley said those wanting to become citizens should seek citizenship legally.

“I care about these people,” Bentley said, “I know why they’re here — they want a better life — but, they’re breaking the law.”

Bentley left students with a challenge for the next 34 days.

“I need your help,” Bentley said, “I need you to get out and work for me.”

Bentley said it’s important for students to go out and vote because it is hard to complain when you haven’t voted.

Rachel Wilson, secretary of College Republicans, said she believes Bentley has a thorough platform and would do a lot of good for the state.

“I hope that students felt more informed and realized what the current issues are in the state of Alabama,” Wilson said, “I hope they open up their eyes to see who would be the best person to fix these issues.”

CadeAnn Smith, president of college Republicans, said she thought Bentley was a very engaging speaker and hopes that students in attendance left with their questions answered.

“I hope students realized what a rich opportunity it is to have Dr. Bentley in our own backyard,” Smith said. “I think the meet and greet was a great opportunity for students to learn more about Dr. Bentley’s platform.”