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WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) -
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley spent Tuesday talking about the economy with business leaders in Elmore County, but one of the biggest construction projects in the region is going up without political fanfare.
Walking around the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, Governor Bentley said he could see the wheels turning on an economy slowing getting out of a recession.
"They tell you that business is better, especially over the past six or eight months it's better," he said. "These are anecdotal stories that I hear not only here in Elmore County but all over the state."
In downtown Wetumpka, the governor visited a printing company that's just steps from view of one of the biggest and most controversial construction projects around, a place the governor didn't visit on his "Road to Economic Recovery Tour".
It's one thing for the governor to go to an electric cooperative or printing company. Those are easy photo-ops. Then there's something far more politically difficult, the casino hotel that's going up here in the middle of the city that's owned and operated by Native Americans.
Even the governor says that he has to admit that it's definitely a job creator, even though there's that question of legality that's constantly hanging over it.
"I think it probably will stimulate the economy around here some. I'm not a proponent of gambling," Bentley said. "I never have been but here again, it will create some jobs and you know we cannot really right now do anything about it unless the courts decide what they're doing is not legal."
The project is just months from completion and when it's done it will employ more than 1,000 people, a fact the governor is happy about, but he can't get excited about.
Elmore County's unemployment rate has gone down over the past year. The governor will receive his first paycheck when the state's unemployment rate goes below about 5.8%