Tim James, son of former Governor Fob James, officially qualified as a candidate for Governor of Alabama Friday. He made the announcement in a press conference at 11:30 at GOP offices in Hoover.

Prior to the announcement, James sat down for an exclusive interview with 1819 News discussing his platform, policy ideas and his reasons for entering the race.

“People in Alabama are very passionate about their Governor,” he said. “After the 2010 election - of course, we lost by a smidgen, less than a few hundred votes -I learned a valuable lesson, that every vote really does count. I had not been planning on this but less than a year ago, I began to get a call, a pull, back into it.”

When asked about the crowded GOP slate running for Governor, he said it’s not abnormal for a lot of candidates to enter the race.

“The Governor’s race always draws a crowd,” he said. “It’s a full-contact sport. I’m not surprised there are a lot of people in it. When my dad ran for Governor the first time, in 1978, no one ever heard of him. He was an industrialist. The only people that ever heard of him watched him play football at Auburn in the 50s.

“You had Jere Beasley, Bill Baxley, Albert Brewer, Sid McDonald, my dad. ‘Big Jim’ Folsom was in that race. So, it’s really more normal than not.”   

James talked about the problems in the country which, he says, is a creeping influence of Marxism threatening the fabric of society.

“We’re in a battle for the soul of America, that’s where we are,” he said. “We’ve watched this attack on our Judeo-Christian foundation. And a nation cannot survive if it leaves its foundation.”

James said he is concerned about government overreach at the federal level, calling it “tyranny.” He said he feels the people of the nation are experiencing a “great awakening” and feels voters are waking up from a long slumber.

“It’s because of the pandemic. We’ve got our first dose of what tyranny really does look like and what government can do to you. The truth is, the federal courts have been taking your rights away and violating the Constitution for 50 years. This is about taking back a nation one state at a time. It’s going to be a fight.”

James referenced Winston Churchill as a man who stepped in at the right moment in history and compared the current situation in the United States as a point in time where leaders must emerge.

“Running government is not hard,” he said. “It’s not rocket science. I care about our people but, most of all, I care about our children. That’s what drives me more than anything.” He spoke on improving education in the state and said he would support school choice.

“When you give a mom and dad the ability to say, ‘uh-uh, I’m getting out of this hell hole,’” James said, “and they can go to another public school, they can go to a charter school, they can go to a private school if they want to take the vouchers — home schooling, I’m big on home schooling. If you’re giving parents the ability to snatch their kids out, at some point, you say ‘enough’s enough.' That’s how you do it.”

James says he believes the best principals should be in the most underperforming schools because the best leaders are better equipped for the toughest jobs.

“You’re going to have to pay them,” he said. “You should pay them and teachers bonuses tied to performance.”

However, he said that the object is not measuring the worst schools against the performance of the best schools in the state. They should be measured against their own progress from the previous year and continue to improve each year.

James addressed the various lottery and gaming bills that have been proposed in the legislature.

“I’m against gambling across the board,” he said. “The lowest one-third income people are buying half the tickets. We know that gaming of all sorts is a net loss.”

The tax revenues, he said, are not worth the social costs.

“It’s a constitutional amendment, so it doesn’t even come to the Governor’s desk,” James said. “The legislature does it. The Governor can’t veto it. So it does go to a vote, but I will stand before the people of Alabama and say, ‘this is why I am against it.’”

James said the marijuana proposals being discussed in Montgomery are nothing more than a bait and switch scheme designed to get more drugs into the state.

“The marijuana bill - they call it the Compassion Act - that’s another example of putting a name on something,” he said. “It’s not about compassion. It is a bait and switch, unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the history of this state, that I’ve ever seen.

“No one is against any sort of medicine, cannabis-based or otherwise, to give to people that are hurting or sick. What they didn’t tell the Alabama legislature is that currently there are four FDA-approved cannabis drugs that your doctor can prescribe, and you can go to CVS and get them.”

James said the debate is not really about approving medicine but, rather, about setting up dispensaries around the state.

“The people that work in these pot shops, they’re not pharmacists,” he said. “These guys may have been working at the car wash two weeks ago.” He shared his concern that people could purchase from dispensaries and resell marijuana on the streets.

James told 1819 News he favors eliminating the grocery tax on essential groceries and he believes pandemic restrictions hurt small businesses around the state.

“I think our Governor is overwhelmed,” he said. “I think the whole structure around her, they’ve been in fear and the decisions have been wrong all along. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people — she’s not — but just not up to the task at the moment.”

After James signed the qualifying documents to enter the race, he spoke to other members of the media about his campaign.

“I’m very disappointed in the leadership in Alabama,” he stated. “Some of the things this governor, this administration, has done, the leaders of our Republican party have done — they don’t look like Republicans.”

He said leadership in Montgomery has focused on trying to build casinos and ignored the failures in our education system.

“It’s embarrassing. It’s humiliating and we’re going to talk about public education and getting it back on track.”

When asked about mask mandates and vaccine mandates, he said the country is in a place it has never been before as a nation.

“The idea that you would throw thousands of Alabamians into poverty in such a cavalier way because they refuse to take a shot — it’s not about the shot, it’s about forcing people to do this,” he said. “What Biden did was no worse than what our own government did,” he said in reference to allowing companies to fire people who refused to get the vaccine.

“The governor is the chairman of the board of trustees at our public universities and did the same thing.

“If you make me Governor, I will not allow school systems to force children to wear masks,” he continued. “I will use an executive order and shut them down on a dime.” James said parents could decide for themselves whether to require their children to wear masks.

“It is a spirit of fear and we’ve got to come against it and say, ‘no more,’” he said. “We are not going to live in fear.”

When asked about critical race theory (CRT), James said it was Marxism and “It’s meant to divide — divide children on skin colors.” James said he thinks race relations have improved in the nation but the media narrative on the issue creates division.

On the issue of voting rights, James said he would do everything in his power to protect the right to vote.

“We have shed blood in this nation for that right,” he said. “Everyone should vote. Nothing is wrong with making sure that people who are supposed to vote are qualified to vote and I will defend that right. I want honest elections in Alabama and whoever wins, wins.”