Springville Mayor Dave Thomas announced Tuesday night that he is putting his name in the hat for Alabama governor. Thomas made the announcement during the city's regular council meeting. After the meeting, Thomas spoke to 1819 News about his stances on issues, including his concerns with the current leadership, and where he thinks the state needs to go with tax cuts, education, and the use of marijuana.

"This is not really city business, but it pertains to the city somewhat," Thomas said during the council meeting. "I am excited to announce that as of this morning, I became a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor."

Thomas said becoming governor would be a big step.

"You've got to be in it to win it, and we're in it, so we'll see where it goes and what happens," said Thomas.

Thomas was elected mayor of Springville in 2020, beating out incumbent Butch Isley. He said that's when he began to realize there could be something more for him to do.

"I got the attention of some people in politics when I handed Butch Isley his head on a platter," said Thomas. "Beating him by more than two to one, that kind of got some attention."

Thomas is familiar with Montgomery, as he served as an Alabama state representative from 1994 until 2002. He said he sees several issues with the state that he wants to change, including eliminating the grocery tax and the gas tax and eventually discussing eliminating the income tax.

"I am a free-market economist," said Thomas. "Contrary to the big government mentality, when there's a shortfall of revenue, the answer is not to raise rates and raise taxes. In fact, it's the opposite of that. Ease the burden on the families."

Thomas said allowing Alabamians to keep more money in their pockets will mean more money will be spent and more businesses will see success. He said he has an economic plan to replace some revenue from cutting taxes. That plan includes expanding hemp cultivation, adding bamboo, and legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis.

"The propaganda that people have relied on for decades has proven to be false," said Thomas. "Quite frankly, it seems absurd to me that a room full of people are going to decide that Americans can't take a seed, plant it in the ground, and grow a plant, no processing whatsoever required, and yet it's illegal. And yet we've got an opioid epidemic from coast to coast using pharmaceuticals that are legal."

While admitting that he smokes pot himself, Thomas said he knows firsthand how beneficial the plant can be. He said he has been at odds with people in his own family because of the bad reputation marijuana has.

"We've had this discussion for many, many years in my family," said Thomas. "Honestly, it's been a point of contention in my family, mainly because of the illegality of it."

Thomas said his life is proof that people can be successful while using cannabis.

"Whether it's cannabis, or a vaccine, or alcohol, if you want it, knock yourself out," said Thomas. "If you don't, don't. But don't sit there and tell somebody, a grown adult, what they can and can't do with their health, with their own personal lives."

When it comes to a lottery or gambling, Thomas said he would support a bill that didn't include the "good ole boy" system.

He also said he is for school choice because he believes competition would serve the state's students well.

Thomas said he does not believe the leader of Alabama should "take marching orders from special interest groups or Washington, D.C."

The gubernatorial candidate said he has not lost sight of the state's motto, "We Dare Defend Our Rights."

Without being naïve, Thomas said he realizes his run will be quite the "David and Goliath" battle. But he said he will make a grassroots effort to get the word out about his campaign and tell the people of Alabama what he has to offer.

"I'm counting on fellow Alabamians not being too thrilled with the slate of candidates as they currently stand," Thomas said. "There are two types of people in the world, those that talk about doing something and those who actually do it."

The 56-year-old business owner graduated from the University of Montevallo and has previously served as president of the Springville PTO. He and his wife, Bonnie, have two children and four grandchildren. His hobbies include playing the bagpipes and skydiving.

You can watch the video of Thomas announcing his candidacy below. The announcement was part of the mayor's report, which begins at 38 minutes.

Others Republicans campaigning for governor are incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey, Greenville businessman Tim James, State Auditor Jim Zeigler, Kings Home President Lew Burdette, pastor Dean Odle, and former Ambassador to Slovenia Lindy Blanchard.

The Republican primary is May 24, 2022.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819News.com.