Get to know: Scott Dawson, Republican candidate for Governor

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Evangelist Scott Dawson is one of the four main Republican candidates vying for their Party’s nomination for governor this year.

Dawson is a lifelong resident of Alabama, reared on the west side of Birmingham. The son of Paul and Ann Dawson, Scott grew up in a modest, blue-collar family with traditional values and a strong work ethic. For the last thirty years, Dawson has shared the good news of the Gospel with enthusiasm and clarity across the Southeast. Now he’s running for Governor because “if you want to fix what’s wrong with Alabama, the first step is to stop electing politicians and start electing leaders.”

With a little over four months until voters head to the ballots, AlabamaToday.com is inviting all candidates running for office in Alabama this year, 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.

Here Dawson is in his own words:

  1. Significant other? How long married? Kids? I’ve been married to my wife, Tarra, for 26 years and we have two kids: our son, Hunter (22), and our daughter, Hope (18).  
  2. Education background? Professional background? 
    1. I graduated from Ensley High School in 1985 and then went on to graduate from Samford University in 1989. I earned a Master of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School in 1993.
    2. I started my non-profit ministry thirty years ago—it was me, a Bible, and a mailbox. Today, I’m blessed to be part of an organization with over a dozen full-time, paid team members and an annual budget that exceeds three million dollars. We have worked with churches, faith-based organizations, businesses, schools, student groups, Major League Baseball, and the National Football League to make an impact across the nation and globe. Last year alone, I spoke to over one hundred thousand people face-to-face sharing the transformational power of the Gospel.
  3. What was your first job before college/adulthood and after? A work ethic was instilled in me by my parents at an early age. At 15, I worked at a neighborhood shoe store. Then, as a full-time student in college, I got a job as a bagger at a grocery store and eventually moved up the line to become the assistant manager.
  4. In 25 words or less, why are you running for office? For decades, Alabama has suffered corruption and mediocrity from career politicians. I’m an outsider casting a bold vision to restore faith in Alabama’s future.
  5. Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement? From whom? When this journey began, I was part of a group of concerned, grassroots citizens who were frustrated with the status quo and in search of an energetic leader with integrity. When they turned to me and said I should run I was surprised and very, VERY hesitant. I declined. When they remained persistent for several weeks, I began to prayerfully consider and sought the counsel of people I knew and trusted. Among those friends were former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, U.S. Senator James Lankford (Oklahoma), Rick and Bubba, and a host of others from various walks of life.
  6. Who do you count on for advice besides significant other or clergy? One key to effective leadership is to place a diverse multitude of counselors, with their unique perspectives, around you. That’s been a consistent practice in my ministry, on this campaign, and it’s what I’ll do as governor. I’ve received wisdom and advice from teachers, first-responders, small business owners, organizational leaders and many others. Unlike the typical politician, I don’t pretend to have all the answers. During this campaign, I have constantly reached out to those with the extensive, relevant experiences I don’t possess, asked questions, and relied on the wealth of their invaluable life lessons.
  7. Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager? Jonathan Gray with Strategy, Inc. is our General Consultant and Rick Renshaw is Campaign Manager.
  8. Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Why did they donate? One of my earliest contributors was Tom Bradford. He’s been a mentor to me for over fifteen years. He’s a devout man of faith, a gentleman in every regard, a respected pillar in our community and a person who passionately believes that Alabama needs a principled, visionary leader at the helm.
  9. Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government? Well, I certainly have admiration for some dedicated servant-leaders in Montgomery. Frankly, the ones who have earned my deep respect and gratitude are the ones I’ve talked with in small groups: corrections officers, teachers, mental health professionals, and those who serve our veterans and the elderly. Many of them love what they do, do it well everyday, and don’t receive fat paychecks or fancy titles. THESE are the ones who make me proud and inspire me to be their champion and partner when we get to the governor’s office.  
  10. Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to do about it? Mistrust exists because of our long history of corruption, incompetence, and mismanagement. It’s no secret—we’ve all seen it, year after year after year. We are constantly over-promised and perpetually under-delivered. To reverse course, our leaders must prove that they are here TO serve not BE served. I’ll bring a can-do spirit of collaboration and greater purpose to Montgomery and as we raise the bar for performance and demand excellence, leadership-by-example will foster reform and become the norm. To regain trust, we must go above and beyond what the people expect; deliver real, exemplary results; and create a new era of ethics, integrity and honest behavior. A Dawson administration will work tirelessly to do exactly that.
  11. What are 3 specific policy positions that you’re running on? (Please don’t simply say “education” or “improving the schools”). 
    1. First of all, I want to see our kids excel, not just at school, but in life. I will be rolling out details of my plan to implement drug-testing for every high school student who wants to participate in an extracurricular activity as a simple way to get early help for those who need it. This will give kids better test scores, better jobs, healthier families later, and a smaller chance of ending up in our prisons.
    2. Second, I want to create an ethical environment in Montgomery by advocating to strengthen our ethics laws, establish term-limits for the legislature, implement voter recall for other officials, and transfer more power that’s currently held by special interests back to the people.
    3. Third, like any governor, I’ll recruit industries to come to Alabama, but most importantly I want to be sure we’re providing optimum support for businesses that are already here, and assistance for Alabama entrepreneurs who don’t want to deal with unnecessary red tape, fees, and onerous regulations. My aim will be to unleash our local economies in order to create more jobs and opportunities at every level.
  12. What is a “disruptive” issue (i.e. ride-sharing) you are interested in? The ultimate disruption will happen when we restructure Montgomery so that it won’t be a hotbed for putting the whims of politicians above what’s best for the people. Pushing against the current always makes waves.
  13. Name one current state law you would want repealed? I’d love to see the repeal of unnecessary regulations on businesses, as well as exorbitant occupational licensing fees and requirements. Jumping through government hoops is no recipe for success. Cutting that government red tape would set business owners, would-be entrepreneurs, and skilled workers free to give their very best to those they serve and to our economy! 
  14. Who was the best governor in Alabama’s modern history? Any governor who best held the people’s interests first, and finished well.
  15. What will set you apart from other candidates in this race? I’ve never been a politician before, and I’m not seeking to make politics a new career now. I’m the “outsider of outsiders” with no past political baggage, entanglements, or obligations. All of my competitors in this race–on both sides of the aisle–have been beholden, or are beholden to one special interest or another.
  16. What’s the first thing you read each morning? The Bible.
  17. Where do you get your political news? My Twitter feed, Fox News, and conversations with conservatives all across the country.
  18. Favorite TV series? Blue Bloods.
  19. Social media presence? Twitter handle? Facebook? Who posts you, campaign staff, combination? 
    1. Twitter
    2. Facebook
    3. I’ll sometimes allow my campaign staff to add a post on Facebook. I use both!
  20. In 140 characters, what’s a Tweet that best describes your campaign message? Politicians have failed Alabama for forty years with old ideas that don’t work. My administration will bring new ideas, lead from the front, regain the people’s trust, and cast a vision of hope for the future!
  21. Hobbies? Golf and reading.
  22. Favorite sport and sports team? My favorite sport is golf. My favorite team is Alabama.  
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