Dexter Dawston, 40, is campaigning to represent District 93 in the Georgia State House. An Omaha, Neb., native, he moved to Stone Mountain as a child and grew up there. He has lived in Snellville since 2008 with his family.
He and his wife, Ruth, have two children: a son, 10, and a daughter, 18 months.
Dawston, currently a truck driver, was in the military – both the Marine Corps and Army – from 1990-2000. He served in Operation Desert Shield and was stationed in 32 countries over the course of his career. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon during his service.
He is endorsed by the Georgia Right to Life, Georgia Black Entrepreneurs and Georgia Coalition Against Illegal Immigration. He believes that businesses that hire illegal immigrants should be prosecuted.
Jon Gravley, director of the Georgia chapter of Veteran's Support Organization, headquartered in Snellville, believes District 93 needs someone who is willing to fight for them.
"I agree with what [Dawston] wants to do here," he said. "We need more veterans in politics."
Snellville Patch caught up with Dawston last week to discuss his venture into politics.
Snellville Patch: How have you reached out to voters in District 93?
Dawston: I've covered almost the entire district. I loved the experience, because you get to interact face to face and see what they have to say. When I was in the Marine Corp, I was used to getting my hands dirty – and in triple digit heat, that's what I did. I didn't go to a democrat or a republican; I just went door-to-door. Over the past few weeks I have spent around 35 hours campaigning during the work week.
Snellville Patch: Do you have a team you work with?
Dawston: I have never asked for volunteers and am not accepting donations. I didn't feel comfortable with it. We're still in a recession, and people are trying to pay their bills. You have to earn people's trust before they can give you money.
Snellville Patch: What inspired you to get involved in politics?
Dawston: I'm really sick of our political system, the discourse, the people in general not being able to get things done and get real results. With my military experience, I have the leadership, the fortitude, the ideas people want to hear about.
Snellville Patch: Can you give me an example of one of those ideas?
Dawston: I have a strong passion for entrepreneurship, which is jobs. The difference between entrepreneurship and jobs is that entrepreneurship is the key to getting out of poverty. It gives independence, promotes jobs and promotes small businesses. We need jobs, but it's ultimately more important that people can own businesses.
Snellville Patch: What do you think District 93 wants to see in a representative?
Dawston: Your representative should be seen everywhere. He or she can't just sit behind a desk and say yay or nay, you have to be with the police, working with teachers, small businesses, social charities. You have to be embedded in all that so you can truly make a difference. As a representative, I would want you to hold me accountable.
District 93's Representative has to be a mentor, advocate, a teacher and a leader. He has to be more than a person who spends a few months months out of the year passing laws.
Snellville Patch: Are there any particular issues on the ballot that you have a strong opinion on?
Dawston: There is a question on the ballot that asks, "Should active duty military personnel under the age of 21 be allowed to obtain a Georgia weapon license?” I believe the answer is yes. They've been doing it already, with much bigger guns, so it just makes sense to me.
Snellville Patch: Are you affiliated with any organizations?
Dawston: I am a part of the NAACP, the Red Cross Disaster Team, the National PTA Association, and am a devoted member of Veterans Support Organization.
For more information on Dawston, including his stance on issues ranging from human trafficking to helping entrepreneurs start new businesses, visit his website.