MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - This is one part in our series on the candidates in Alabama's upcoming June 5 gubernatorial primary elections.
"I got into this not running against any other candidate," Scott Dawson says of the governor's race. "I'm running for Alabama."
Dawson touts his time as a preacher and living life the right way for why he should become Alabama's next governor.
"I'm tired of being 47th, 48th and 49th in most polls and No. 1 in corruption," he says. "Let's flip those."
Dawson supports mentorship programs in the classroom, mandatory drug testing for high school students in extracurricular activities and doing away with earmarking of the state's budgets.
The Alabama native also wants to set up an independent counsel to look at regulations and fees placed on Alabama businesses, meant to do away with any unneeded regulation.
WHO IS SCOTT DAWSON
"I'm the outsider," he says of himself.
Dawson said he is the one man running on the Republican side who is not currently a politician. He calls it an advantage in the race, especially after Montgomery's recent string of corruption.
Dawson grew up in Alabama, received a degree from Samford University and has been in ministry for the last 30 years, much of it focused on kids.
The origins of Dawson's run are when he helped create a grassroots organization aimed at finding a candidate people like him could support, the person the organization landed on was Dawson himself.
WHY HE SHOULD HAVE YOUR VOTE
Dawson says if he can bring different denominations together he can do the same in the world of state politics. He touts endorsements from notable figures like for Arkansas Gov. and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
On the first day of his administration, Dawson says he would order a performance audit for all state agencies to look for inefficiencies. When it comes to education he wants to bring mentors into the classroom to help with the learning process.
When it comes to creating jobs, Dawson says he wants to get government out of the way to allow natural job growth.
"I believe I can get into a boardroom and build relationships," Dawson says. "If my eternity is based on a relationship, everything in my life should be based on relationships," he states.
If a business is on the fence about coming to Alabama and needs convincing, Dawson says he can be the man to convince them to come into the state.
The candidate feels that for too long Alabama has taken what he calls an "either/or" approach, pursuing outside business at the expense of companies already in the state.
"Alabama businesses pay Alabama taxes," Dawson reminds. "We need to set them free."
Dawson proposes setting up an independent counsel. If a business has a regulation or fee it believes is unreasonable, the company could bring it up for review. The independent body would then give the agency in charge of the fee or regulation a chance to defend it, and if it couldn't be defended, the regulation should be "struck from the books."
"We are at the bottom rung of the ladder and that's unacceptable," Dawson says. He education plan starts with having mentors in the classroom.
Dawson says the mentors could come through corporations, communities, churches, and even retirees to help the learning process.
The candidate also wants economics taught in middle school to give kids an earlier understanding of finance.
Dawson promises to be at every school board meeting and to hold teacher summits for teachers to have a platform to voice their opinions.
His most radical education idea deals with drug tests for high school students in extracurricular activities.
Dawson wants mandatory drug tests for extracurricular activities. He says the tests would use snippets of hair. The costs of the tests will be paid for by partnering corporations.
Under the plan the first alert of a failed drug test would go to parents, the second to school administrators and the third would have state-sponsored drug rehab.
The reason for the plan? Well, Dawson said if a child can't pass a drug test and is addicted, one of three things will happen to him.
- They will be unemployed or end up on welfare
- They will commit a crime and be put in prison
- They will eventually overdose
"Everyone says it's a money problem in the state of Alabama," Dawson says. "So I go, at this stage is what I'm looking at is let's make sure it's not a leadership problem."
Dawson wants a performance audit of the different state agencies with the goal of freeing up cash and to see where any potential waste may be.For Dawson, he believes the government was never intended to meet every need you have, and if it is forced to, the impending pressure would cause it to implode.
Dawson has refused to sign a no new taxes plan because "he cannot see the future". However, he says raising taxes should "always be our last resort."