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Meet Erica Lawler – Independent Candidate for the 97th!

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:  [email protected]

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

12 Responses to “Meet Erica Lawler – Independent Candidate for the 97th!”

  1. Tom White says:

    So Lawler is pro abortion, pro Medicaid expansion, Pro Obamacare, pro gay marriage (which makes her anti Christian in my opinion). Just wondering why she didn’t run as a Democrat? Or a Socialist?
    Tom White recently posted…Meet Erica Lawler – Independent Candidate for the 97th!My Profile

  2. Peace Supporter says:

    A Young, Idealistic, Liberal Working mother with very young children doesn’t stand a chance campaigning against Peace and Coggsdale in a very Republican District.

    Ironically, Lawler is exactly the voter Chris has been pandering to for the last few years- Day of the Girl proclamations and all the feel good Mommy legislation like Background checks for BabySitters.

  3. Mel says:

    Lawler is yet another Lib Tard.

    • Sandy Sanders

      Mel, let’s be respectful. She has courage to run for office in this day and age. Yes I disagree with many of her stands. And I am still for Del. Peace. But I am glad there is a contested election – it’s important for the polity and for the winner who will have a true mandate to serve us for two years.

      Thanks for coming by.


  4. Nat Atkins

    On reading this I thought I had stepped out to the “Twilight Zone” or down the rabbit hole of “Alice in Wonderland”. Chris Peace’s opposition is pro-Obamacare pro- larger government, pro increased government spending. Is Virginia Right really that so angry at the delegate who has a sold pro-life and pro-family record that the issues no longer matter? Beam me up!

  5. Addie Brugger says:

    I am glad that Ms. Lawler stands for a woman\’s most basic right to decide when and whether to bear children; every woman\’s most fundamental right. While many issues are important to me; these right wing attacks on women\’s reproductive rights-a constitutional right may I remind everyone,gravely concern me. Chris Peace wants to send women back to the Dark Ages by forcing us to once again, become state owned incubators under threat of criminal penalty. We will not go back- we will fight back.

    Another critical issue is Medicaid expansion. I will not hesitate to call these sociopathic Republicans murderers because they want to deny life saving medical care to milions of Virginians who will die without it. For everyday day that the Va. GOP blocks Medicaid expansion; people die. And yet they have the audacity to call themselves, \”Pro-Life\”? Many people\’s lives literally depend upon Medicaid expansion and the Va.GOP brazenly denies it to them.

    Its time that these teabaggers like Chris Peace stop running un-opposed. He cares NOTHING about women\’s reproductive healthcare nor people\’s need for healthcare in general-because he refuses to expand Medicaid. We need to change a lot of faces in the Va. legislature. The time to start is now.

    • Addie, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I am glad you have a real choice in this election and I respect your views. But abortion is the willful taking of a human life (and science says it) and should be legal in very rare circumstances and the necessary evil of abortion ought to be strictly regulated. I think it is a bit too much to say people will die if Medicaid is not expanded. I would be open to a few truly needy people to be temporarily brought into the system (and we need the hospital money restored that the authors of Obamacare took away) but not a blanket expansion of the Medicaid system. I do not think Del. Peace’s opposition to abortion or Medicaid expansion are inconsistent. But I still respect how strongly you feel about it; I’d agree with you on abortion if it was not a willful taking of human life. (For example, birth control among consenting adults is none of the government’s business!) More pro-lifers need to respect the sensitivity of the issue to women (and some men).

      Come back again, Addie!


      • Addie Brugger says:

        I must disagree. Women are not incubators and must not be forced to sacrifice their own bodies and quality of lives-just because an unwanted fetus depends upon it. We do not in any other other context, force people to sacrifice their own bodies to sustain someone else’s life by forcing them to donate their kidney or bone marrow, etc. just because someone else will die without it. There is no reason to carve out an exception to this long standing policy of bodily autonomy by forcing a woman to sacrifice her own uterus just because a fetus cannot live without it.

        Choosing not to give a life through a life through the use of one’s own body (e.g. a woman’s own uterus)….. is NOT the same as taking away a life that is already there- apart from one’s self. Just because a woman chooses not to act as an incubator to sustain someone else’s life (in this case, a fetus) is NOT “taking a life”. She is choosing NOT to give a life. This is hardly “murder” as the anti-choice fanatics continually call it. This is reproductive rights which is the most basic cornerstone of women’s advancement and equal participation in society.

        If we do not have reproductive rights, then any other right is completely meaningless. We are nothing but incubators and brood mares and baby machines, forced to reproduce under threat of criminal penalty-if our most basic right to reproductive freedom is denied. This obscene War On Women must stop and our reproductive rights must completely be respected by our office holders. We WILL hold them accountable.


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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