The Republican governor of Alabama, Robert J. Bentley, has removed the Confederate flag that customarily flies on the grounds of the Alabama statehouse. According to the Huntsville Times, Governor Bentley said it was “the right thing to do,” also saying the removal was “partially” about the racially motivated murders in Charleston, SC last week. Three other Civil War era flags were also removed.
Bentley became Alabama’s 53rd governor in 2011. On taking office he promised he would not accept a salary until the state reached “full employment”, which means a 5.2% unemployment rate. As a result, the 72-year-old Gov. Bentley has yet to be paid for his service. (Though improvements in Alabama’s unemployment rate have occurred.) Formerly a member of the Alabama House of Representatives from 2002 to 2010, Bentley was before that a practicing physician. His expertise was dermatology — and he apparently has pretty thick skin: the decision to remove the Confederate flag does not have anything like a consensus of support in Alabama. Bentley also served in the Air Force, achieving the rank of captain.