Gadsden Times: Dawson Details Reasons He's Running for Governor

Scott Dawson’s candidacy for governor of Alabama does not come from the typical path of working one’s way through lesser political offices before seeking the top spot.

“My life for the last 30 years has been ministry,” Dawson said, and as president and CEO of the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association, based in Birmingham, his ministry has been a far-reaching one.

The association conducts event ministries, including winter student conferences, which Dawson said have allowed him to present the Gospel to more than 1 million people.

So what would lead someone to step down from that pulpit to seek a bully one?

Dawson said it was the state’s recent history. In the last 50 years, he said, Alabama has only had two governors to serve two terms without being impeached, resigning or being indicted.

He said he was working with a grassroots group about making changes in state government, and others in the group started looking to him to lead that change.

It was nothing he’d ever aspired to, Dawson said, and there was a lot of prayer involved in making the decision to run.

He said at an event, he’d talked to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee about the prospect of running.

“He told me I could lose my job, my reputation, my savings and the election,” Dawson said. “He said ‘You better realize you’re doing what God wants you to do.’


“Most Alabamians want to be assured of competence,” he said. “We’re not electing a pastor.”

What the state needs to elect, Dawson said, is a leader — “someone who can communicate a vision and mobilize people to accomplish it,” he said.

Right now, he said, the Republicans have a super-majority of representatives in Montgomery, and still can’t get anything done.

Included in Dawson’s vision for the state is stronger ethics among its leaders. “Character is not built in an election year,” he said. “It is built over a lifetime.” He said candidates need to be vetted “so we don’t have any surprises.”

Education, Dawson said, is the future of the state. Pre-K should be available for all students, but not mandated. “Government can’t do a better job than a loving family can do with children.”

He advocates using volunteers from the community — with proper background checks — to come into elementary schools and work alongside teachers. There is an army of volunteers, he said, who care about kids.

In middle schools, Dawson said, attitude, leadership and economics need to be taught.


In high schools, he said, he’s seen young people without hope. “You can live for days without coffee,” he said. “You can’t live a second without hope.”

Dawson said high schools have to prepare students for life, not for taking tests.

To battle drug addiction, he favors requiring mandatory drug tests for any student to participate in any extracurricular activity.

“There’s no mother in Ensley praying for her son to be in a bigger, better prison,” Dawson said; they are praying for children addicted to drugs.

He also said no one is addressing the opioid crisis.

As for the economy, Dawson said talked to the CEO of an Alabama business who joked about moving to Georgia so Alabama would recruit his business to return and give incentives. He said the state should incentivize growth in existing business and industry.

Dawson said he believes government should be effective. He defined efficient as doing what is right. Effective government does the right thing for the right reason, he said.


He advocates performance audits across every agency in the state. “I’m not looking at getting rid of essentials,” he said, “but you have to look at the non-essentials.”

Dawson said he wants to have a picture of an average Alabamian in his office, and to change it every day as a reminder of who the government works for.

“You inspect what you respect,” he said. “It’s time to inspect and grow to be respected by the people.”

Dawson acknowledged that some people might have questions about an evangelist as governor. He said he would make decisions basted on a Biblical worldview.

However, he said anyone in a leadership position makes decisions based on some sort of governing authority in their life — hopefully not special interests.

“You better have some sort of authority,” he said.

As to those of different beliefs than his own, Dawson said the Scripture says to treat everyone with respect — a word that means “to hold in high regard.”

 

This article appeared in The Gadsden Times on March 12, 2018.