Benjamin Levi Lawless is a marine veteran who served in Iraq and a candidate for State Senate in Maryland's 8th Legislative district. The 25 year old is a Republican who originally was running for Congress in 2009, until his family moved out of the 3rd Congressional district. The incumbent is a two term Democratic Delegate before becoming a State Senator in 2003. The District was represented by Republicans in the past in the House of Delegates, but is currently represented by 1 Republican Delegate and 2 Democrats. Lawless was willing to sit down and answer some of my questions in an email-based interview.
Matthew Newman: What made you decide to run for State Senate?
Benjamin L. Lawless: My decision to run for Senator was a direct result of my love for this state and the General Assembly’s ability to assist fellow Marylanders on a more local level.
MRN: Originally, you were registered as a candidate for House of Representatives, what made you decide to switch races?
BLL: There were two factors that led me to switch races. The first event involved moving to Nottingham, Md., which is out of the congressional district for which I was a candidate. Though I was not required to reside in that district, I did not believe that I would be a proper representative of the residents of that district if I myself was not a resident.
MRN: How do you feel your experiences / background will help you in the State Senate?
BLL: As a Marine Corps Sergeant, I haven’t any tolerance for the breaking or ignorance of rules and regulations. As a sworn defender of this country I am an avid supporter of the Constitution. I am an advocate for the Second amendment and national defense.
MRN: If elected, what would be the first piece of legislation you would propose in the 2011 legislative session?
BLL: I am a firm believer that legislation is not the answer. Any and all bills that I will submit and or sponsor will have the ultimate goal being the deregulation of the State of Maryland. The first bill that I will submit in the 2011 session will be to streamline and broaden the base of approval for concealed weapon permits and repeal the removal of Maryland’s open carry pistol permits; clearing the way for Maryland to become a “shall issue” state.
MRN: In 2010, Maryland voters will once again have the opportunity to vote to hold a Constitutional convention. Would you be in favor of a Constitutional convention?
BLL: I must say yes. I would not only be in favor of such an event, I would probably choose to attend. Any new act to raise awareness about the Constitution is a good thing. It does hurt to think that such a thing is needed to support the supreme law of our land.
MRN: What is your opinion of the incumbent State Senator Katherine Klausmeier?
BLL: I respect the Senator as she is my Senator. She works for me and the other residents of District 8. However, she has not been listening to us. She is said to be a gun supporter, but has yet to submit or sponsor a bill deregulating personal arms in Maryland. Ignoring her constituents, she voted against a bill that would protect Marylanders from Washington’s mandated healthcare purchase laws. What to we do to an employee that refuses to listen and often does the opposite of what we say? We fire them. In my opinion, should shouldn’t have been allowed to hold a fourth term in the General Assembly, let alone attempt to hold a fifth.
MRN: In 2006 and 2002, Senator Klausmeier won with 60% of the vote. How do you feel you can improve over previous Republican candidates?
BLL: I possess the conviction to do what is needed to be done and the discipline not to quit, ever. Previous candidate have always been respectable and worthy of such a position. I am young and energetic. I am a war veteran and a family man who does not only think out of the box, I have spent my adult life staying miles away from the box.
MRN: One of your bullet points on your website under your issues section is that you want to provide "...affordable health care to all of Maryland by helping to regulate cost." What legislation would you propose to help regulate cost?
BLL: The intention would be to adjust billing for patients contingent on their income. The ultimate goal being to keep co-pays affordable and regulate overall charges incurred at medical facilities.
MRN: As one of the ideas on "Benjamin’s Plan for Rebuilding Opportunity" include discussion of incentives for hospitals to help college nursing programs. What specific incentives would you propose for Maryland hospitals?
As more and more medical facilities grow skeptical of the new health care legislation, it is thought that hospitals will start cutting or overall denying college internships on the basis of the inability to promise a position to the students in the future.
MRN: A balanced budget is required by Maryland State law, how would you ensure that we have an actual balanced budget as opposed to a budget balanced with legislative maneuvering?
BLL: Times are tough. We all understand it. We all feel it. From the working class to the gold class. From the small business to the corporation. I have a plan that I will submit to the 62nd Governor that involves completely balancing Maryland’s budget within 18 months. How will I do this? It is a cross between deregulation and spending cuts and it does not involve raising taxes, ever. In fact, after the first 18 months, taxes in Maryland will drop dramatically.
MRN: One of your upcoming events is a fundraiser / shoot-off to draw attention to Maryland's current firearm legislation. How do you feel such an event would go over in district 8?
BLL: From what I have gathered, the residents of Legislative District 8 love their country, their state and their Constitution. Such an event does more than bring awareness to Maryland’s ignorance towards the Second Amendment, it also shows our protest against over-regulation.
MRN: In closing, what is one thing you would like potential voters to know about your candidacy?
BLL: I am nothing special. I am just a dad who cares about his kids. I am just a working class American who loves his freedom and enjoys providing freedom to others. I am not a politician or a lawyer. I am a real, live person who lives to serve.
I thank Ben Lawless for his willingness and openness in answering my questions. If you are interested in learning more about his campaign, check out his official website here.
Cross-posted to Old Line Elephant