James rolls out platform for governor
"Common sense is one thing we are missing in government," he said Tuesday.
The candidate, in his second bid for governor, talked to about two dozen supporters at The Silver Spoon Cafe in downtown.
The issues include returning to property appraisals every four years, requiring a photo identification to vote, and stopping any new taxes or any raids on the state's oil and gas trust fund.
James, a businessman from Greenville, also wants to keep top spots in Alabama universities open for in-state students with "B" averages and acceptable ACT scores.
To address several issues in education, the candidate is proposing the "Alabama Reading Corps," which would bring college students into public schools to work with children, boosting reading scores and one-on-one interaction with students.
The college students would receive credit.
James said that would probably bring about 4,000 college students into Alabama K-12 schools. When asked how he would pay for background checks for those students, he said they would cost about $400,000.
James said he would approach the business community for the money or he would find money in the multi-billion dollar state education budget.
When asked how he would move money within the education budget, which is difficult without the support of the Alabama Education Association, and how he would advance other issues that have stalled in the Legislature, James said he plans to run two campaigns.
He said he is running a campaign to be elected governor and, if elected, will run an ongoing campaign using technology and the media to inform the public and promote his message.
"For the first time in my life, the masses are paying attention," James said.
He said he would move to cap tuition increases at universities at the rate of inflation.
In pointing to what he believes are failures of the current education system, James said the education budget has doubled in the last decade, but ACT scores have gone up only 1 percent and 40 percent of children are dropping out.
Brett Hall, the communications director for James, said he is the only candidate talking about methamphetamines, which are destroying families throughout the state, or about the need to establish a system to help mother collect child support. He said about two in three mothers are not receiving the child support due to them.
Hall said helping single mothers would relieve the demand on some social services.
James proposes withholding state services and tax returns from parents who have not paid their child support.
He proposes strengthening drug courts in the state to help with addiction to crystal meth.
In talking about business and economic development, James said he supports giving incentives to existing businesses before giving them to the large outside companies who are considering Alabama as a site.
James finished third in the Republican primary in 2002.