State school board member considers run for governor
by Phillip Rawls, The Associated Press
Jun 18, 2013 | 1944 views |  0 comments | 57 57 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MONTGOMERY — Alabama Board of Education member Mary Scott Hunter of Huntsville is considering entering the Republican race for governor and plans to decide by the end of summer.

Hunter said she has enjoyed serving on the state school board for more than two years. But she said people from different walks of life have encouraged her to consider running for governor, and she's giving it serious thought.

"I want to do it so bad, but it's a big decision," the 40-year-old lawyer said in a phone interview.

Republican Gov. Robert Bentley is seeking re-election next year. Former Morgan County Commissioner Stacy George is also running for the GOP nomination in the primary set for June 3, 2014. No Democrat has announced.

Hunter acknowledged she's not well known outside of her school board district, which covers DeKalb, Etowah, Jackson, Limestone and Madison counties.

But Alabama's last two governors jumped from regional offices to the governor's office. Bentley was a state representative from Tuscaloosa, and Republican Bob Riley was a congressman from east Alabama. Neither was well known outside their districts, but both launched successful campaigns that involved early ads to build name recognition with voters.

That may not be as much of a problem for Hunter because she has a name that is burned in the memory of many college football fans. Her father, Scott Hunter, was a quarterback at the University of Alabama under coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. He also played eight years in the NFL.

"His name ID might be higher than mine," Hunter said with a laugh.

Hunter and Bentley have differed publicly on one major issue. He opposed the state school board adopting the Common Core standards for public schools, but she advocated for them, including working successfully with the state school superintendent and business and education groups to keep the Legislature from blocking Common Core during the 2013 session.

While she's focused on education in her current job, she said what interests her most about the governor's office is being the chief economic developer for Alabama and working to bring jobs to the state.

"I'm chomping at the bit to do it. I love the idea of selling our state," she said.

Hunter holds a bachelor's degree and law degree from the University of Alabama. After finishing law school, she was a commissioned as a lieutenant in the Air Force. She served 10 years as an Air Force judge advocate general, first on active duty, then in the reserves and finally in the Alabama Air National Guard. She attained the rank of major and did tours in Korea and Germany and a wartime deployment to the Middle East. She and her husband, Jon Shultz, who's also an Air Force veteran, moved to Alabama in 2006. She was in private law practice for six years and now works for Intuitive Research and Technology.

She ran for the state Senate in a 2009 special election, losing to fellow Republican Paul Sanford. She won the state school board seat in 2010.
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