Born into a blue-collar family in Fairfield, Alabama – to a father who worked for U.S. Steel and a stay-at-home mom, one grandfather who was a steelworker and the other a coal miner – I am a product and lifelong resident of Alabama. As I came of age in the 60s and 70s, my belief in civil rights and equal protections for everyone came from my experiences growing up during the era of the desegregation of Alabama’s public schools, including those I attended. As a high school student, and student government leader, I worked with my peers to forge a calm and build unity during what was often tumultuous times.
After graduating from Fairfield High School, I attended the University of Alabama, received my degree in Political Science, and discovered my interest and love for politics and public service – largely through my work in campus affairs, and volunteering in a statewide campaign championed by then Alabama Chief Justice Howell Heflin to modernize the Alabama court system. After my undergraduate career, I attended the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, and among other activities, served as the president of the school’s Young Democrats chapter.
In the fall of 1977, my second year in law school, I cut a few classes so that I could sit in on the first 16th Street Baptist Church bombing trials, led by Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley. There was no greater trial than the Chambliss case – this was the first time I saw real, inspiring change in the cards for Alabama. This tragedy would be revisited, 20 years later – shortly after my appointment as U.S. attorney – and I would be the individual privileged to fight for justice for the four lives lost, and those who felt that justice would never be found.
Following law school, I had the incredible honor of serving as staff counsel to the U.S Senate Judiciary Committee for Alabama’s newest Senator Howell Heflin, who had been elected following his term as Chief Justice. Working in Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Senate was an amazing year. It planted a seed in me that I always hoped would allow me to return to the Senate one day.
In 1980, I became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Birmingham where I honed my skills as a trial lawyer and prosecutor. The experience served me well when I decided it was time to enter the private practice of law to further build my career. This transition allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of our criminal justice system. Having had the experience of being on both sides of the courtroom, it is my firm belief that our system of justice works best when the participants can see things from all perspectives.
From 1997 to 2001, I served as the United States District Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. I was nominated by a President who was a Democrat and confirmed by a Senate where the Republicans were in the majority. The first year of my appointment was also the year of the Birmingham women’s clinic bombing – a scene where I was on site just minutes after the explosion. The image of a bombed building and body of a police officer will remain with me for the rest of my life. During that same year, we kicked the re-investigation of the 1963 bombing of the16th Street Baptist Bombing case into high gear. Thanks to an incredibly dedicated team of prosecutors, investigators and staff we convicted two former Klansmen for the murder of those four innocent children. Justice may have been delayed, but it was certainly not denied.
Today, I hope to return to public office. Too many Alabamians do not believe that our government is serving them. The issues that affect our daily lives have moved from substantive debate to mere political footballs being tossed between parties. These issues of common ground must not be obscured by the fog of political rhetoric. My heart has always compelled me towards public service, and I am running for the United States Senate to return Alabama to the dignity that we deserve.
Doug is married to the former Louise New from Cullman, Alabama. They will celebrate their 25th anniversary the night of the Special Election in December. Daughter Courtney, a graduate of Birmingham Southern College, is working on her PHD at the University of Alabama and is married to Birmingham attorney Rip Andrews. Together they are raising Louise and Doug’s two beautiful granddaughters, Ever and Ollie. Son Carson is a graduate of the University of Georgia and is currently in graduate school at Colorado State University getting a Masters degree in Zoo and Aquarium Management. Youngest son Christopher just finished his freshman year at the University of Alabama where he is enrolled in the Culverhouse School of Commerce. Doug’s parents, Gordon and Gloria Jones, live in Birmingham and his sister Terrie Savage and her husband Scott live in Hartselle.