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Bentley holds rally in Clanton

Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert Bentley, center, visits with supporters after a rally Saturday.

Robert Bentley laid out his platform Saturday in a rally attended by local residents and both local and state political candidates.

The Republican gubernatorial hopeful chose Clanton’s Grand Ole Pumpkin Patch for the event, and about 200 people attended.

Bentley began his speech by declaring his faithfulness to the Republican Party (“I first voted for Barry Goldwater in 1964,” he said) but insisting he was not the choice of the party’s top officials.

The No. 1 issue facing the state, Bentley said, is unemployment. The Republican nominee, who will face Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Ron Sparks in the November general election, said the state’s approach should not be to create government jobs but instead to remove regulations so businesses can grow.

“Government doesn’t create jobs; government helps companies create jobs,” Bentley said. “We need an attitude adjustment in Montgomery, and it’s going to start at the top.”

Going along with Bentley’s belief the government interferes too much with business was an assertion the government is too involved with people’s everyday lives.

“We have an intrusion of the federal government into our lives,” Bentley said to cheers from those in attendance. “And make no mistake, this guy I’m running against in a left-wing liberal.”

To demonstrate the differences between he and Sparks, Bentley brought up the candidates’ stances on abortion, illegal immigration and health care.

Bentley’s views were consistent with the Republican Party line. He said he would be a governor that would be “proud to stand with Gov. Brewer of Arizona (on prosecuting illegal immigrants)” and said President Obama’s health care bill is “one of the worst things that’s ever happened to this country.”

Bentley invited both John McMillan, who is running for Ag Commissioner, and Maplesville Mayor Kurt Wallace, who is running for the state House of Representatives for District 42, to join him on stage toward the end of his speech.

Wallace stressed the importance of electing representatives and senators that would help Bentley carry out his agenda.

Though Bentley appears to hold a lead over Sparks among likely voters, Bentley stressed the need for his supporters to continue working hard for the party.

“We’ve got a chance, for the first time in 136 years, to have control of the (Alabama) House and the Senate,” Bentley said. “We need to take back the party, take back the state, and, ultimately, take back the country.”