Wednesday marked the deadline for candidates to qualify to run in the Alabama special election to replace Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate. 11 Republicans and eight Democrats will officially move forward to their party’s August 15 primaries.
With a little over three months until voters head to the ballots, AlabamaToday.com is inviting all of the candidates, including appointed-incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, to complete a questionnaire we believe offers an interesting, albeit, thumbnail sketch of who they are and why they are running. If you are a candidate and would like to complete the questionnaire, email Elizabeth@ALToday.com.
Today’s candidate spotlight features Dominic “Dom” Gentile, a Birmingham businessman hoping to shake-up the status quo.
Here he is in his own words:
- Significant other? Wife, Karen – met in college, married 29 years. Kids? We have three boys between the ages 16-23.
- Education background? Attended the University of Alabama and was a walk-on kicker for the football team. Studied Political Science and received my BA. Then went on to get an MBA.
Professional background? I’ve worked in sales, marketing and general management for three Fortune 500 companies Duracell, Gillette and Sara Lee. Those positions provided me with the opportunity to travel the world working in over 25 countries, living in many different cities in the US, and living in Asia. This gave me a global perspective that I will take with me to the Senate.
- What was your first job? Territory Manager selling batteries for Duracell.
- In 25 words or less, why are you running for office? Our citizens need a representative, not another politician. Alabamians deserve to have a candidate who is not a bought insider. I have never run for office and owe nobody.
- Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement? From whom? I did not speak with anyone from the party.
- Who do you count on for advice? I am a good listener so I count on a lot of people for advice.
- Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager? My team is comprised of professionals in Public Relations, Graphic Design, Social Media, Advertising and Promotion and Communications. None of them have political experience, and that is intentional.
- Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Me actually. Why did they donate? I wanted to self-fund my campaign to demonstrate that I am not in anyone’s back pocket. Special interests and the donation money from special interests are ruining our election process.
- Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government? Nobody
- Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to do about it? People mistrust elected officials because they don’t actually represent the citizens. The people are frustrated and angry because they realize that special interests have a voice, but they don’t. That is why I’m running. I believe we need people from outside of the ‘system’ to bring sound problem solving and ethics back into office. I will never accept PAC or special interest money, and I will term-limit myself out of a job. I will serve one full 6 year term and then it is someone else’s turn.
- What are 3 issues that you’re running on? (Please don’t simply say “education” or “improving the schools”) My biggest three issues are:
- Term limits. I will push to pass a law on term limits at the federal level, and since I’m pretty sure it won’t pass (these insiders would never pass it) I will pledge to only serve one full-term in office. If you think this is a good idea, put your vote where your mouth is and never vote for a candidate who won’t sign such a pledge.
- Bring competition to Blue Cross Blue Shield, resulting in lower costs for all Alabamians.
- Flat Tax. Let’s simplify it and get rid of the bloated IRS.
- What is a “disruptive” issue (i.e. ride-sharing) you are interested in? We have a monopoly in this state with Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and that is not healthy. We need a more competitive landscape that will drive insurance premiums down and make insurance more affordable for everyone from the poor to middle class to the rich, and to businesses as well. Competition makes businesses better, and that results in better options and lower prices for the consumers like us.
- Who was the best governor in Alabama’s modern history? Next question. One of the primary responsibilities of a governor is to see that our children are educated properly, and education in Alabama is abysmal relative to other states and countries. Show me a governor who rights this ship and I will show you the best governor.
- Are yard signs an important part of campaigning in your district? No, I don’t think yard sign influences how someone votes, but they are a part of name recognition. As someone who has not run for political office before I will be working to get name recognition and yard signs are a necessary evil. I do pledge to ask my team and volunteers to pick them up after the campaign and recycle if possible.
- What’s the first thing you read each morning? ESPN.COM
- Where do you get your political news? I try not to read this junk.
- 60 Minutes or House of Cards? Neither. My favorite show is Madame Secretary.
- Social media presence? Twitter handle?
- In 140 characters, what’s a Tweet that best describes your campaign message. Unbought. Never to be bought. Representative vs politician.
- Hobbies? Teaching college and exercising.
- Favorite sport and sports team? Hockey. Nashville Predators.