Governor Bentley Reflects On 2013
2013 is winding down and today, we talked one on one with Governor Robert Bentley to get his thoughts on the year.
Governor Bentley is very proud of many things that the state accomplished in 2013, and he's also proud of some of his not-so-popular decisions, like refusing to participate in the Affordable Care Act.
"I think we've accomplished a lot this year," said Gov. Bentley.
He says one of his biggest successes has been fixing roads in the state thanks to new grant money.
There are over one thousand projects in the works to rebuild much of the state's infrastructure.
But the governor is most proud of bringing more jobs to the state through companies like Airbus.
"We work hard every day to try and create jobs in this state. I think that's probably the most significant thing we do. And it translates with a lower unemployment rate which is now at 6.2%, the lowest in the southeast and the lowest we've had since 2008," said the governor.
One of the harshest criticisms of the governor this year has been with his decision to not participate in the affordable care act. David Bronner, head of Retirement systems of Alabama, has said the governor is throwing away free money to expand Medicaid.
But Governor Bentley thinks the state's recent restructuring of medicaid, moving from a fee for service program to paying for outcomes, is the right move for the state.
"No one actually knew how medicaid worked for 30 years. We know how it works now. And we're making it more efficient. Our job and our goal is not to have more people on medicaid. I think that's the worst thing in the world you could do. Our goal is to have less people on medicaid by having more people working," said Bentley.
And he says that he's looking to stay the course in 2014.
"I think we need to continue what we're doing at the present time. I think that creating jobs for the state is always number one."