Gov. Bentley abolishes gaming task force

Published 7:19 pm Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The day after his inauguration, Gov. Robert Bentley’s first official act was to abolish the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling.

Bentley assigned the cases still pending to Attorney General Luther Strange’s office.

In Gov. Bob Riley’s last year in office, three non-Indian gaming facilities in the state closed after raids or the threat of raids from the task force. Bentley said those facilities should not take the abolishing of the task force to mean they can reopen.

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Also Tuesday, Bentley signed an executive order that state agencies must make a priority out of creating jobs in the private sector.

That echoed his inaugural speech on Monday, in which the Tuscaloosa Republican and retired dermatologist said the No. 1 focus of all state employees will be job creation.

“If you work in government in Alabama, job creation must be your focus,” he said. “That is a directive from your chief executive.

“I’m going to direct every state agency to do whatever it can to work with the private sector and create jobs. Whether it is the Department of Transportation installing a turn lane so a Dollar General store can open on time or the Conservation Department helping to create and build a state-of-the-art convention center at Gulf Shores, our state’s mission from today forward is creating jobs for Alabamians.

“We must continue to create a business climate that makes our communities competitive when we’re recruiting new industry to the state,” he said. “But we must also remember that most new job creation comes from existing businesses, and we must offer the same tax breaks and incentives to them.

Bentley also said called on all Alabamians to work together to “heal” the state.

“I’ve always believed that, if I listened to my patients, diagnosed the problem and we worked together to determine a course of treatment, we could overcome their challenges,” Bentley said. “And after talking — and listening — to so many people across the state, I know that, working together we will make things better for all Alabamians.”

Bentley said the 2010 election “told us the people of America are fed up with business as usual. They’re tired of partisan politics and the federal government. They want action, not arguments.”

Escambia County GOP chairman Jeff Peacock attended the inauguration and several other events.

“Obviously, as a Republican, the inauguration was a great event when you consider the tremendous success the GOP experienced in the November election,” Peacock said. “Each and every official sworn into office on Monday was a Republican. However, regardless of one’s political affiliation, we can all agree that inaugurations represent what is so great about America. We sometimes forget how fortunate we are to live in a society where political leadership is transferred from one administration to another in such a civilized and peaceful manner, rather than through force and violence. It really makes you realize how blessed we are to be Americans.”