Bentley addresses Pike County Republican Women

Published 11:01 pm Wednesday, October 23, 2013

PLAS seniors pose for a picture with the First Lady.

PLAS seniors pose for a picture with the First Lady.

During the talk, Bentley focused on her role as the governor’s wife and her support of domestic violence awareness, foster care and adoption and literacy.

Bentley also emphasized her journey to the governor’s mansion through the lens of her faith. “I was very unsure about Robert running for governor,” Bentley said. “God was faithfully there during the entire process.”

Bentley said her life changed dramatically once Gov. Bentley decided to run. “I was a stay-at-home wife and mother with four sons, three daughters-in-law and seven granddaughters,” Bentley said. “All my grandchildren lived within one mile of our house. I thought that I had a good, predictable life.”

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Once Gov. Bentley’s campaign got underway, the First Lady’s life became a little more chaotic. “It was all I could do to hold on,” Bentley said. “Our house turned into the campaign headquarters. I had friends say to me, ‘Tell him not to run.’ I started to learn to trust in God’s plan.

Bentley credited her husband’s campaign to her and Gov. Bentley’s shared faith. “We like to say that he was elected on a wing and a prayer, mainly a prayer,” Bentley said.

Bentley said her most trying time as First Lady was on April 27 when the state suffered from a widespread tornado outbreak. “On Robert’s hundredth day in office, Alabama suffered its worst natural disaster,” Bentley said. “It was both the high and low point of my experience. It was terrible to see the destruction across the state, but it was amazing to see the way Alabama people supported their neighbors. Wherever we saw devastation, we also saw volunteers.”

Bentley said even President Obama was impressed with the way Alabama handled the disaster. “The president toured the state with us,” Bentley said. “My husband said that he was from the greatest state in the nation. Obama said that he was supposed to say that. My husband said, ‘Just watch the way that we respond to this.’ Now when a natural disaster strikes the president says to go to Alabama and see how they handle things.”

The remainder of the First Lady’s talk focused on her three main platforms: domestic violence awareness, foster care and adoption and literacy.

Bentley partnered with Verizon to support the HopeLine, which provides used cell phones to victims of domestic abuse. “No longer used cell phones are donated and become lifelines for victims of abuse,” Bentley said. “It is a small way to make an difference and an easy way to become an advocate against domestic abuse.”

Bentley, who has two adopted sons, also said adoption is an issue that Alabama needs to address. “Every child deserves a forever home,” Bentley said. “If a child is released from foster care at the age of 18, they go through life alone. There’s no difference between adopted and biological children. You love them all the same.”

Bentley stressed education as an area where Alabama’s education system needs to improve. “Reading is fundamental and necessary for success,” Bentley said. “It is important to instill in a child a love of reading that lasts forever.”

Bentley said she views her role of wife as more important than any position she occupies in the state. “I am his only constant, the protector of his health and time and his closest confidant,” Bentley said.

The PCRW’s meeting concluded with Mayor Jason Reeves presenting the First Lady with three gifts from the Pike County area: peanut brittle, candied pecans and a Troy Trojans football.

The PCRW will not meet again until January.