Congresswoman Corrine Brown’s indictment on 24 charges of fraud may provide an opening for her biggest challenger, former state Senator Al Lawson of Tallahassee. Lawson is the most high-profile contender to replace Brown in the District 5 Congressional seat she’s held for more than two decades. He joined Melissa Ross with more about his campaign and the state of the race.
First Coast Connect videos produced by TVJax.com
Starring Melissa Ross and Al Lawson
Shot and Edited by Derrick Allen Dillinger
In cooperation with WJCT
Alfred “Al” Lawson, Jr. was born in Midway, Florida, a small town located between Tallahassee and Gadsden County. As a fourth generation Floridian, Al Lawson’s roots run deep in North Florida. Lawson worked his first job in the Gadsden Community tobacco fields at the age of 8, learning the value of community and hard work.
Al graduated from Havana Northside High School, where he was a standout student athlete. He went on to become a basketball star at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. Al chose to continue his education, earning a Master`s of Science in Public Administration from Florida State University.
Al Lawson married his college sweetheart, Dr. Delores Brooks, who teaches at Florida A&M University’s School of Nursing. They have two adult children, Alfred III and Shani, and three grandchildren, Cameron, Kobe, and Samuel. The Lawsons are also active members of St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church.
A Small Businessman
Senator Al Lawson has been a small business owner in the Big Bend area for over 30 years. Since 1976, Lawson has been an Agent with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, where he has been recognized as one of the company’s most valued agents. In 1984, he started his own marketing and communications firm in Tallahassee, Al Lawson & Associates, which publishes Capitol City Black Pages.
As a small businessman, Lawson understands the challenges of managing a company, meeting payroll, taking care of employees, and is familiar with the difficulties facing many small business owners throughout North Florida.
An Engaged Leader
Dedicated to making a difference, Al realized that working families in North Florida needed a voice speaking up for them in the state legislature. In 1982, as an underdog candidate, Al was elected to the Florida House of Representatives where he served for 18 years. He went on to run for the Florida Senate in 2000, winning in the general election.
During his tenure as a state legislator, Al passed legislation that received national and statewide attention. As Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, he authored the Preservation 2000, one of the most important environmental laws in the country, which created the largest state-funded land acquisition program in the United States.
Al has been a champion for state employees, public schools and all working people in North Florida. He fought for pay raises and benefits for state workers and vigorously strived to improve the quality of life for children and the elderly. Al received national recognition for his major role in the Rosewood Legislation, which provided remunerations to survivors of the Rosewood massacre in the 1930s.
In 2005, Al sponsored and passed legislation creating the First Generation Matching Grant scholarship program, which provides state university matching grants to first-generation, undergraduate students who demonstrate a financial need.
Giving Back to the Community
Al Lawson has worked tirelessly to put forward thoughtful policy solutions that result in a better quality of life for the citizens of North Florida. Over the past 25 years, he has provided nearly $300,000 in academic scholarships to North Florida youth through his annual Capitol City Classic basketball tournament.
He has helped to pass legislation to provide start-up money for small businesses, helping North Floridians start and expand their businesses while creating jobs in our community.
As a past chair of the Tallahassee Urban League, he worked to improve the quality of housing for the economically disadvantaged and for senior citizens. He has also worked to help aspiring homeowners with down payment assistance to make it possible for more North Floridians to achieve the American dream.
Lawson is a past chair of the FAMU Boosters, Board of Directors, and has been actively involved in the Florida State University Alumni Association.
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First Coast Connect
Melissa Ross photo by Toni Smailagic