I had the privilege and honor to speak with Erica Lawler, one of two challengers to incumbent Republican Delegate Chris Peace in the 97th District and here is a precis of my interview with her:
No, she is not THIS Erica Lawler – that is Erika Lawler the Olympic Hockey player. Erica Lawler lives in Hanover County in Old Church near the link with both King William and New Kent Counties. Erica and her husband have a small farm and she works at William & Mary in the research office as a grants and contracts officer with additional duties in financial compliance. Yes as a state employee Erica can run for office as her position is not under the Federal Hatch Act (some state employees that are paid by federal grant monies cannot run for a partisan office) and she got her signatures and sought to run to make sure there was competition for Del. Peace. (I admire her for that.) Erica saw something about Peace’s reelection and saw he did not have a primary opponent and did not have a general election one, either and that bothered her. So she decided to run.
Ms. Lawler’s positions on the issues are not completely formed yet but Erica wants to modernize the Virginia Procurement Act to bring it into the computer age. Erica also is concerned about the environment (she opposes the Virginia pipeline and feels that climate change is proven and must be addressed but is not sure government can make people be more concerned about the issue. Erica is not for arbitrary term limits in that what the electoral system needs is competition instead. She would not change the abortion laws in Virginia but thinks the attempt to regulate abortion clinics like hospitals was excessive. She is for the ability to grow industrial hemp in Virginia. (Ms. Lawler worked briefly for an international organization that did dleiver birth control and some abortion services in other countries to prevent terrible self-abortion techniques in developing nations.) Erica’s husband is a former Marine Corps marksmanship instructor and she believes in the responsible use of firearms but would like to see better and more stringent efforts to prevent the mentally ill or domestic abusers from possessing firearms. Ms. Lawler also believes the 72 hour temporary emergency protective order (that is obtained just on the word of the alleged abuse victim) should be lengthened to perhaps seven days. She is a supporter of gay marriage and would vote to protect gays from discrimination in the workplace. Erica has grave concerns about Common Core, SOLs and “teaching to the test” but she admits that there are issues with administrative pay in education. Erica thinks the tax structure in the Commonwealth is “moderate” and does not seek radical changes. Ms. Lawler would use her experience as a state employee to use as a legislator and hopes her campaign will being out more voters, whether she wins or loses.
Here is Erica in her own words on Medicaid expansion:
I’ve been so disappointed that the focus has been placed on provision of insurance rather than provision of care, care which would be markedly cheaper if the administrative headache of insurance billing, rate negotiation, and insurance code records were eliminated. When I had my daughter 4 years ago, I thought fraudulent charges had been billed to my insurance: my hospital expenses for a normal delivery of a healthy baby ran thousands of dollars but my insurance was shown as having paid nearly $5,000 more than the actual cost. This was because my health insurance company had negotiated a standard rate for hospital delivery and paid it regardless of the actual costs involved. Sometimes the hospital might come out ahead, as it did in my case, other times they’d be left footing the bill on a complicated delivery. Can you imagine if other sectors of the economy did this, like home construction? Sometimes a builder erects an eight hundred square foot house for $150,000 other times the builder has to make a 2,800 square foot house for the same price?
In my ideal world, there would be either no health insurance whatsoever so that healthcare could be provided at costs determined between doctor and patient or a single-payer system, similar to the NHS in the UK. Health insurance is an incredibly expensive middle man to maintain. In the former situation, individuals might route a set percentage of income to a health savings plan much as is currently done and then a debit-type card used to pay the care provider when medical services are needed. The latter situation is pretty self-explanatory. Realistically, though, neither of those is likely to happen in my lifetime. The fact that Virginia relied upon the federal marketplace for insurance under the Affordable Care Act was regrettable, in my view, because the subsidies that support purchase of plans are now being scrutinized as to their ultimate constitutionality. It’s going to pull the rug out from under many people if they are scrapped, almost like a bait and switch. I wish there were a more reliable way for low to middle income families in Virginia to access health care, a means that wasn’t dependent upon the federal government’s whims. Virginia’s SCHIP helps in some ways, but more people than just children need routine care. I’m not sure that Medicaid expansion in Virginia is the best means to accomplish this because, again, the reliance is upon the federal government’s standards which may not respond to Virginia’s health needs.
I thought this was well said. (Not sure I agree with it but I was impressed enough to get her okay to quote it in full as is.) I look forward to a forum or debate between all three candidates. I might even suggest to Tom white that we at Virginia Right do the debate.
If you want to help Ms. Lawler, go to this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders