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Dem aims for Hurt's seat
Lawrence Gaughan running in 5th District
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Democrat Lawrence Gaughan will challenge U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt for the 5th District Congressional seat in the November election, he announced Tuesday.
Gaughan, 47, a Charlottesville native, said he decided to seek the post because “Hurt, like many in Washington, (is) out of touch with the concerns of hard-working Virginians.”
Hurt, a Chatham Republican, has said he will announce his candidacy for a third term later this spring.
This is Gaughan’s first bid for public office. However, he worked with John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign and raised money for the Democrats in the 2006 mid-term elections, his website states.
Gaughan identified voting, taxes, protecting Second Amendment rights, immigration reform and education as his priorities, with job creation topping the list.
Gaughan could not be reached for comment. His campaign manager, Josh Norris, and Gaughan’s website provided information for this article.
If elected in November, Gaughan said he “would make it my No. 1 priority to level the playing field in terms of job creation. I would vote for any legislation that would bring back jobs in construction, manufacturing and production” and for tax incentives to bring jobs and for investments in education and health care.
His position on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) could not be determined.
“When we encourage the growth of public and private sector union labor, our economy does better and our middle class thrives. Our country did not become the greatest nation on earth without the hard work of farmers, factory workers and skilled labor,” Gaughan said.
Also high on Gaughan’s priority list is education, and he said there are areas that “need to be fixed,” such as reducing class sizes, raising teacher pay and completing the transition from No Child Left Behind, while ensuring schools are preparing students for college or industry, according to his website.
On his website, he stated that he supports increased funding for vocational training and higher education because “Virginians deserve a better chance to earn a decent living.”
“I stand for fair and affordable higher education and will propose, co-sign and vote on any legislation that reduces costs and eases some of the burden of debt on our students,” Gaughan said, adding that he would focus “on achieving the goal of making college affordable and available to any student who wants to obtain a degree.”
Gaughan said he supports the Dream Act — which would grant permanent residency to immigrants who arrive in the U.S. as minors, graduate from U.S. high schools and meet other requirements — and sensible solutions to immigration reform, including tightening border security and “penalizing those here illegally and deporting undocumented immigrants who are breaking other laws.”
Gaughan said on his website that he supports a bipartisan proposal for background checks for gun purchases and “would propose or vote for any common-sense, widely accepted legislation that keeps guns out of the hand of criminals, terrorists or the mentally ill.”
On taxes, Gaughan said, “I will not vote for any tax cuts for those making over $250,000 a year, and I will definitely not support a flat-tax scheme such as the one proposed by the Republicans.”
As founder of a nonprofit advocacy group, Gov360, Gaughan said he has spent years working to encourage Americans to participate in the civic process by voting.
He said he plans to accomplish his goals by “seeking to build a broad coalition of legislators who are willing to put their districts first and partisan politics last.”
Gaughan graduated from Albemarle High School in 1985, received a bachelor’s degree in theater arts at the University of Montana in 1994 and a master’s degree in social change theory at Pepperdine University in 2013. His most recent acting includes the role of secret service agent Warner on three episodes of the upcoming season of the HBO TV comedy series “VEEP.”
Gaughan will kick off his campaign by visiting with members of the 5th District Democratic Committee on Saturday at events in Richmond and Charlottesville. He then plans to campaign in other areas of the district.