Bentley at National Governors Association meeting, W.C. Handy Music Festival

Jul 24, 2015

Governor Robert Bentley is in West Virginia today.  He’s highlighting the Gulf State Park Project as an innovative strategy for tourism and economic development at the Summer Meeting of the National Governors Association.

Governor Bentley is the vice-chair of NGA’s Economic Development and Commerce Committee.

Bentley presented Alabama’s plans for the Gulf State Park Project and highlighted its benefits for the state’s tourism industry.

The beaches along Alabama’s Gulf Coast region account for approximately 40% of all tourism throughout the state. The Alabama Department of Tourism estimates that more than 24 million people visited Alabama in 2014 and spent more than $11 billion throughout the state.

Mobile’s probate court will hear arguments today on whether or not same sex couples can adopt children.

Several Alabama counties have started approving adoptions for gay couples.

Susan Watson is the Executive Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama. She says if adoptions are approved, it will be one step closer to gaining equality for same sex couples.
“Not only do they have the right to be married but they have the right to be equally treated. When it comes to adoption for example they can adopt each other’s children which they were unable to before.”
Watson adds she feels as though there is a need for more to be done in the LGBT community, as well as all communities when it comes to equality.

Music fans are expected to head to North West Alabama this weekend for the wrap up of the W.C. Handy Music Festival.

Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Booker T. Jones is the featured performer during the headliner concert tomorrow night. 

Melanie Orseske* is the Public Relations Director for the festival. She says this week is one of the most important weeks for the local economy.
“This is one of the peak seasons for tourism dollars because of the event. We believe it is the largest event in North West Alabama and this area can swell up to between one hundred fifty to two hundred thousand people during the ten day course of the event.”
The festival has been held annually since nineteen eighty two. It’s named in honor of William Christopher Handy—better known as the Father of Blues W.C. Handy. He was born in Florence.