David was born on October 5, 1973, in Cherokee to Tom and Doris Dawson. He has two older sisters, Debbie Allen, who is married with two children and lives in Waterloo, Iowa, and Deanna Zubrod, who is married with two children and lives on a farm outside of Marcus, Iowa.
He grew up in Washta, which is known as the “Coldest Spot in Iowa” because of the January 12, 1912 record cold temperature of -47 degrees.
David’s father and mother worked together at Dawson’s Cropmate, a fertilizer business his father owned for many years in Washta. While growing up, David worked at the family business for several summers.
He attended Willow Community High School in Quimby, Iowa from 1988 to 1992. He graduated as valedictorian and received the American Bar Association’s Good Citizenship Award.
He attended Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa from 1992 to 1996. He graduated with Bachelor of Science degrees in Sociology and Psychology and with minors in Political Science and Criminal Justice. While in college, he was a member of the Iowa State Men’s Volleyball Club from 1992 to 1996; a teaching assistant for the Introduction to Sociology classes from 1995 to 1996; and an intern at the Juvenile Law Center, a division of the Public Defender’s Office, in Sioux City during the summer of 1995.
David attended the University of California at Los Angeles, School of Law from 1996 to 1999, where he received his law degree. While in law school, he was a law clerk at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office in the summer of 1997; participated in the Moot Court Honors Program in 1997 and 1998; completed an externship with Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Unites States Court of Appeals in Los Angeles in the spring semester of 1998; and completed the summer associate program at the law firm of Winston & Strawn in Chicago, Illinois in 1998.
After completing law school, David accepted an attorney position with Winston & Strawn and moved to Chicago in June 1999. He worked in the litigation department and frequently traveled across the United States for various legal proceedings involving large corporations and other business interests.
In August 2002, he moved to Sioux City to become a prosecutor in the Juvenile Division of the Woodbury County Attorney’s Office. He prosecuted gang members, sex offenders, and other juvenile delinquents. He also prosecuted child welfare cases involving abused and neglected children. In 2006 and again in 2007, He argued two cases before the Iowa Supreme Court to help enforce equal rights for children.
While a prosecutor, David served on state and local committees dedicated to improving child welfare, delinquency, and juvenile court laws and policies. He was on the Woodbury County Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Committee from 2005 to 2010; the Woodbury County Community Collaboration Team from 2007 to 2010; the Woodbury County Detention Reform Committee from 2008 to 2009; and the Iowa County Attorney’s Association Juvenile Justice Committee from 2008 to 2010.
While a county employee, he was a union member with AFSCME from 2003 to 2010. David has been a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Sioux City since 2003. He served as a church elder from 2005 to 2008 and has been a member of the adult choir since 2003. In 2004, David served as a delegate to the county, district, and state Democratic Conventions.
In 2005, he attended Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City and obtained my Coaching Authorization. He was a volleyball coach at Sioux City West High School from 2005 to 2007.
In 2008, David was a precinct captain for the Barack Obama presidential campaign, and again served as a delegate to the county, district, and state Democratic Conventions. He was a member of the credentials committees at the district and state conventions. From 2008 to 2010, he served as the Finance Chair for the Woodbury County Democrats.
In March 2010, David began his own law office in Sioux City where he continues to work on behalf of children.