Iraq War veteran Mike Dunn told 1819 News on Monday that he is running for Alabama Senate District 17 in the Republican primary and will soon formally qualify.

Dunn had been a U.S. Senate candidate but ultimately decided that he could do more good in the Alabama Senate, where he could be closer to the people.

“My main goal is to help out Alabama,” Dunn said.

Dunn announced that he endorses Mike Durant for U.S. Senate.

“As an Iraq War veteran, I would support Mr. Durant at any time,” Dunn said.

Dunn said that he really liked Jessica Taylor, who has also dropped out of the race but said that she and he were both parts of a new generation of conservative leaders that need to step up for Alabama.

Dunn served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including a tour in Iraq.

“I'm a 41-year-old father of three beautiful daughters, and I’m a third-generation veteran,” Dunn said on his website. “My grandfathers served in the 1940’s — one of my grandfathers served in the U.S. Air Force and the other served in the U.S. Navy. Two of my uncles served in the U.S. Army, and my extended family members also served in the U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy. My mother worked in civil service for the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy, and my father retired after serving 22 years in the U.S. Air Force.”

Dunn was a Military Police K-9 service animal handler in Iraq. He told 1819 News that he was injured in Iraq.

“We were on patrol checking for IEDs (improvised explosive devices) when we were fired upon,” Dunn said. “I jumped out of the vehicle and tripped and fell in a mortar hold headfirst.”

Dunn’s canine partner was killed in the incident, which was actually a friendly fire incident when they were erroneously fired upon by Iraqi police. Dunn continued to serve his tour, despite two bulging discs that went undiagnosed at the time.

The injuries eventually forced Dunn to curtail his plans to make the armed forces his career.

“I was homeless for a time after Iraq,” Dunn said.

Today, Dunn has an hourly job repairing surgical instruments.

Dunn told 1819 News that he supports the elimination of the sales tax on groceries.

“It would help the people of Alabama, I am all for lowering taxes anywhere we can,” Dunn said.

Dunn was asked if he supports a lottery.

“Yes, I do,” Dunn said.

In 2019, Gov. Kay Ivey’s Study Commission on Gaming recommended that the state do a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians to allow class one gaming in exchange for taxing the gambling. The Poarch Creeks would also be authorized a new north Alabama casino. The plans would also allow all the dog tracks and Dothan to have casinos. It would create a state lottery and a sportsbook. Dunn was asked if he supported that plan.

“I am, but I am worried about what it would bring,” Dunn said. “It should go for education. I don’t think it should go to the general fund.”

As for education, Dunn said that classes like English, history, and literature could be taught online but that science and math courses should be taught in-person.

Dunn said that he favored teaching kids that are not college-bound “about plumbing, cabinetry, and other skills to give them a head start on getting a job.”

Dunn said that he favors school choice.

"A kid in Birmingham should have the option of being able to watch a class in Blount County where the instruction is better online," Dunn said.

Dunn said that he supports ending the concealed carry requirement.

“Yes, I understand the law enforcement position but you should not have to pay to exercise a Constitutional right," Dunn said. "It is just another way for sheriffs to get revenue.”

Dunn is challenging incumbent State Sen. Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville).

The Republican primary is May 24.

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