Primary 2014: A Conversation With U.S. House Candidate Jim Lawrence
Jim Lawrence is a former state Representative, having served three terms in the New Hampshire Statehouse.
The Hudson man is running in the 2nd Congressional District.
Why are you running?
President Barack Obama’s policies – being supported 95 percent of the time by Ann Kuster – in my estimation, they were destroying the future of American for my children. I felt that I had to act. The other Republican candidates running in the race weren’t talking about the issues that I felt were important to the voters of New Hampshire.
In your opinion, as you say, your opponents aren’t focusing on the right issues. What should they be talking about?
Just like my campaign’s talking about. We’re talking about issues like failed foreign policy, we’re talking about job growth, economic policy, government accountability. 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. And right now, I don’t hear anything from our representative, Representative Ann Kuster, talking about any of these issues, either. She’s silent. That’s supposed to be our voice down in Washington, to hold the government in Washington, D.C. accountable to us. That’s why I’m running a campaign, a grassroots campaign, to win back New Hampshire for the people of New Hampshire and win it back from the federal government.
You talk about grassroots. You’ve said that your opponents are squabbling over campaign financing and resources. Isn’t it the hard reality that the winner here is going to have to have the resources to take on the incumbent?
It’s unfortunate that our process has been so diluted by money, especially money coming from outside influences. 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.
Let’s talk specifics about some of the issues we touched on earlier. Let’s talk about immigration. Obviously, this has been an ongoing problem, an ongoing debate in Washington. What can break the gridlock here?
Before we can have any substantive about what to do about illegal immigration, we have to secure our border. Any situation that you look at, the first thing that you go to do is look at the cause and try and solve or at least stop the problem from getting worse. Right now, we have a porous border. It’s not keeping us safe. Anything can come across that border now, whether it’s a terrorist threat, or whether it’s illegal immigrants coming to America. We need to secure that border now before we talk about anything else. We’ve kicked the can down the road way too long. We’ve debated this for too long. It’s time to get serious about it. 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.
You think the resources would be there? You think the GOP would authorize this, even with the expenses?
I don’t view it as an expense because right now the American people are incurring a huge expense and burden by trying to deal with the situation of illegal immigrants that are in the country right now. So the cheapest solution for me is to secure the border.
Let’s talk about overseas issues for a moment. Of course, there’s no shortage of issues to talk about in the Middle East. We’ve talked to an awful lot of candidates this week, all of whom have said in some form or fashion that the administration’s foreign policies have compromised the U.S.’s position on the world stage. Would you agree?
Yes, I would agree with that. I had the benefit graduating from the United States Air Force Academy. One of the best decisions I ever made in my life. It gave me so much. But 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. They’re posing themselves to be the next state-sponsored terrorist organization in the world and they will not stop unchecked unless we do something to stop them. So now we’ve created a vacuum in Iraq and now we’re going to have to use our military assets and resources to be able to deal with them. And we can’t afford this to happen because we’ve seen in the past with Al Qaeda that these terrorist organizations will not stop at their borders and they’ll continue to threaten American interests abroad and at home. We can’t tolerate that.
Politically speaking, survey after survey has shown that Americans are weary obviously after several years of war there about putting boots on the ground. Would you be in favor of authorizing more force, more boots on the ground?
Right now, I’m not in favor of putting boots on the ground in Iraq. I think we’ve paid a heavy enough price in loss of life in that country to date. I am glad that we finally authorized air strikes. I think we need to authorize more. We need to do more to hold try to hold ISIS at bay, but I am not in favor of putting boots on the ground.