It is a joy to be able to call our guest this week a friend of mine. Although he is also my brother-in-law, I consider him a dear friend. His name is Scott Beason and he serves the state of Alabama as a State Senator. He is, in my opinion, a courageous, trustworthy and passionate man who decided to run for office once upon a time. He is, in many circles derided, and has not shied away from controversial matters for the sake of convenience.
I have seen him grieve over the death of his infant son and come out stronger because of it, I have actively campaigned for him (and would do it again), and I honestly believe that he wants to do what is right for all of his constituents.
I threw him a few “soft-ball” questions, and he had the grace to respond. I hope that you enjoy this little peek into his life.
- Me: I know the story already, but please for everyone else’s benefit, tell us exactly how and why you got into politics.
Scott: I am not sure why, but I have always been interested in politics. I can still remember voting for Gerald Ford against Jimmy Carter in the Weekly Reader Presidential poll In second grade, and not understanding why only two of us in the class voted for Ford.
After college, my wife, Lori and I moved back to our hometown of Gardendale, Alabama. In 1994 the elections for state legislature were coming up, and I decided to give running for office a shot. I figured if you want your elected official to do the right things, the best way to assure that was to be that elected official. I ended up running for the state senate as a 24 year old newcomer with no campaign or political experience. I lost that race by a substantial margin, but was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives four years later.
Since then I have served eight years in the House and six in the Senate. It has been a challenge, but most of all, it has been an honor. I have been very blessed through it all.
- Me: How does your position as a state senator affect your family…Lori and the kids? Especially in light of what has taken place over the last year. Do you ever regret some of the stances you have taken because of how it has affected your family?
Scott: Being in politics has been an uncomfortable experience at best for my family. As I have taken on more controversial issues, there have been concerns about safety from time to time, but most of the discomfort is having to deal with written attacks in the news and on the internet. These attacks sink into the mindset of the community, and my children have had to hear comments or questions about me from other children at school. They say that it does not bother them that some people are not fond of their Dad, but it has given Lori and I the opportunity to talk with them about doing what is right even if people do not like you for it. We also point out to them that some people will not like you no matter what you do, whether you are in politics or not.
- Me: Tell us a little bit about your new television show. I can’t get it over here in Portugal, but our readers in Alabama can. What’s it about, when, where does it air, what long-term plans do you have for it, etc?
Scott: The new show is called “Scott Beason’s Reality Check” and is featured on the Alabama Cable Network, ACN. ACN is a channel, usually 80, on the Charter Cable Systems in Alabama going into over 500,000 households. It airs on Monday nights at 8:00 pm and is rebroadcast on Saturday and Sunday evenings at 5:00pm.
The premise is to bring a dose of “Reality” to the political news of the United States and in Alabama. Regular news shows fail to provide the necessary information needed for viewers to construct informed opinions. We try to give a more complete picture of what is happening with a certain issue or personality. This means we show longer clips and have background information that usually removes the sensationalism of the story.
As far as long term plans for the show go, I have none. I am enjoying the moment and hoping that viewers enjoy it.
- Me: There are a lot of people who look at everyone in politics through the same lens. They say that there is very little difference between Republicans and Democrats and that both sides of the aisle do what they do for their own personal gain. How would you answer the people that try to lump everyone in politics into that same mold?
Scott: Most politicians do make their decisions on personal gain. The difference or interesting point is what qualifies as personal gain. Some politicians make decisions on what they can get out of a particular situation that will benefit them in some sort of financial way in an immediate fashion. That group would be the corrupt group. A second group makes its decisions on how much benefit can be gained at the polling place because of taking a certain position. The personal gain is in being elected or re-elected because of the popularity of the position, regardless of the long term impact. “If I am elected everyone will get free tickets to Disney World.” A third way a politician could do something for personal gain is if he sees the value in a position based on the future good for the state or community. This politician is willing to take on difficult tasks because in the long run, everyone will benefit; including his family. This last group is the politician we should all support. We, the voters have to decide between these three types of politicians who indeed are all “out for themselves” in some fashion. Almost every politician is for all the boats rising with the tide. The hard part is picking the ones that know how to make the tide rise. The boats will take care of themselves.
- Me : I’m a bit envious of you, having completed a full 26.2 mile marathon, at Disney World no less. Tell me about that experience. The training, hitting the wall, the recovery, and do you plan to do it again? And, if you remember, without pulling a Paul Ryan on us, what was your official time?
Scott: Getting in shape for the sake of being in shape has never been my cup of tea, and running without being chased is not that fun either. I decided to run a marathon so that I could say that I had done one, and so that I would have a goal to work toward. The goal is what allowed me to train for six months. It was not to improve my health. That was just an added benefit.
I did run the entire 26.2 miles and always thought my “wall” was the first few steps of any run. That turned out to not be the case on race day. It all started out pretty easy and enjoyable, except for starting out with folks who ran even slower than I do. Somewhere around the 22 mile mark, it became pretty rough. That “wall” is the place where I started to feel every step and wonder why do these last few miles feel like 50?
Once the marathon was over, I did not run again for three months. No not one time, and running has been sporadic ever since. I have thought about doing another one to see if I could beat my world class time of 5 hours and 40 something seconds. Apparently, I run slower than Paul Ryan, even using his real time.
…So, there you have it, Scott Beason, unplugged. 5 hours and 40 minute marathon! Much respect. (With my bad knee, my goal is a half-marathon. Training may begin soon.)
He’s not up for reelection this year, so this is not a shameless plug. He’s my friend (and brother-in-law) and thought you might take something away from what he had to say.
Ideas for “Friend Friday”? Comments are always welcome. Want to sponsor Friend Friday? I’d love to that conversation.