Gov.-elect Robert Bentley has reappointed Lee Sentell to a third term as director of the Alabama Tourism Department effective Jan. 17, citing statewide support for his leadership of the agency. Sentell said he is humbled by the appointment and grateful for the endorsement of industry partners. “I’ve had a number of conversations with the new governor since he spoke at our annual conference back in August. He has goals for our industry that range from rural economic development to a convention center at the beach. He will be a real advocate and partner for our industry.” Dr. Bentley is the first legislator in more than 50 years to be elected governor. “He has been in Montgomery for the past eight years, so he is familiar with our agency and the leadership role we play in this $9 billion industry,” Sentell said.
The new governor has also expressed support for public tours of the Governor’s Mansion, including spring and fall garden and Christmas tours which the tourism agency has staffed during the Riley administration, Sentell said. Mrs. Dianne Bentley recently visited the gift shop across the street from the Governor’s Mansion when she toured the home with Patsy Riley. She noted that she has visited the mansion and gift shop several times as the spouse of a legislator. The tourism department owns and operates the gift shop.