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0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8d100000Race: District 2, U.S. House of RepresentativesParty: RepublicanPolitical Experience: 2002-2008 – New Hampshire HousePersonal: Lives in NashuaEducation: U.S. Air Force AcademyCandidate WebsiteIssuesLawrence is running, he says, because other Republicans in the race aren’t focused on issues that are important to New Hampshire voters. “We have huge issues with government accountability right now. You look at the IRS scandal, issues with the Veterans Administration. You look at what’s going on with the NSA and now we’re hearing inklings from the CIA. These all stem from a lack of accountability in Washington.”On money in politics and whether he will have the resources to win: “Yes, it is going to take resources, but the fact that it takes resources doesn’t make any excuses for people who are running and trying to earn the votes of the people of New Hampshire arguing about who’s getting campaign checks from who and what donations are legitimate and not. That’s not what the people want to hear. As a matter of fact, that’s the kind of thing that turns people off from politics.”Lawrence says the U.S. must secure its border to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants. “We need to finish building the fence where we can, we need to augment our border patrol with additional personnel, use the National Guard if necessary. Use electronic countermeasures, as well. But we have to secure the border before we talk about anything. We have to stop the bleeding before we can have a real debate about immigration reform. And no amnesty.”On foreign policy, Lawrence, a graduate of the Air Force Academy, is, against committing troops to Iraq, and he supports air strikes against the militant Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). But overall, he says, the Obama administration has exercised “the worst foreign policy” in decades.“I can honestly look you here in the eye and tell you with a straight face that a first-year cadet at the Air Force Academy would know that you don’t broadcast to your enemy your exit strategy, nor your timeline, nor when you’re going to withdraw troops. That was a huge mistake that we made. Not to mention the fact that President Barack Obama also withdrew all the troops out of Iraq without a plan to maintain stability in that country."These are the types of errors that we cannot afford. We see the result of it right now. We see the emergence of ISIS, which is a larger threat than Al Qaeda in my mind.”

You Asked, He Answered: Congressional Candidate Jim Lawrence Weighs in on Energy, Social Security


Ahead of our recent forum with Republican Congressional candidate Jim Lawrence, we asked you to send in your suggestions for what issues you wanted to hear him discuss.

Lawrence is running in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District against incumbent Rep. Annie Kuster, a Democrat. Kuster is slated to participate in a similar forum on Nov. 2, and you’ll have a chance to send in your questions for her, too.

Here’s what Lawrence had to say on some of the topics you suggested.   

On Energy Regulations

One of you asked: “Where do you stand on the federal Clean Power Plan? Specifically, about burning woody biomass for electrical generation like here in New Hampshire?”

Lawrence didn’t directly address whether he supports or opposes the plan, or how he would approach the issue of burning biomass – instead, he spoke broadly about a desire to balance environmental and economic concerns when crafting such regulations.

“We need to look at long-term solutions that not only protect our environment, but also protect our ability to have a strong economy going into the future,” Lawrence said. “So my plan, as I look forward – and this would be the litmus test for any plan like this – I would look to make sure that not only that we’re protecting the environment but we’re not going to be doing something that’s negatively going to impact the ratepayers or negatively impact our ability to provide cheap and reliable energy.”

On Social Security Reform


Another one of you had questions about the long-term outlook on Social Security. At the forum, one audience member asked Lawrence: “Do you support expanding and not cutting Social Security’s modest earned benefits?”

Lawrence said his priority for reforming Social Security would be to “fence off the payroll taxes that we collect to fund Social Security.”

“Right here in our state of New Hampshire we do something similar with the gas tax to make sure reserved for highway fund. This is even worse than that. We’re collecting taxes, we’re taking payroll taxes from people, from Americans, hardworking Americans, for the purpose of funding Social Security. That money should be dedicated to that fund.”

Beyond that, though, Lawrence said, “you need to leave all options on the table.” He said current recipients shouldn’t see any changes to their benefits but future changes – like raising the cap on payroll taxes, raising the age of eligibility or adjusting eligibility requirements otherwise – need to be considered.

“The one thing I can guarantee you is that if we do this now, it’s going to be a lot less painful and a lot easier to accomplish it than if we wait 10 years later when we’re right at the edge of it collapsing,” Lawrence said. “If you wait, it’s going to be more difficult, more painful to get the job done.”

Stay tuned for more of our "Conversations with the Candidates" and more opportunities to participate leading up to the general election.

Casey McDermott is a senior news editor at New Hampshire Public Radio. Throughout her time as an NHPR reporter and editor, she has worked with colleagues across the newsroom to deepen the station’s accountability coverage, data journalism and audience engagement across platforms.

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