|Born||William T. Lawson, Jr.
March 30, 1974
|Residence||Cary, North Carolina|
|Education||Duke University, Duke Medical School|
|Occupation||Entrepreneur, Chief Software Architect|
|Known for||Software company, congressional campaign|
William "B.J." Lawson (born March 30, 1974) was the Republican Party candidate for United States House of Representatives in North Carolina's 4th congressional district (seat currently held by David Price). He defeated Augustus Cho in the primary election on May 6, 2008, 70.5% to 29.4% and lost against incumbent David Price in the general election on November 4, 2008, 36% to 63%.[2 ]
Born in Florida, Lawson attended Lakeland Senior High School in Lakeland, Florida, where he was president of the student council. He moved to North Carolina in 1992, where he graduated from Duke University with a degree in biomedical and electrical engineering and then from Duke Medical School in 2000.
During his time at Duke Medical School, Lawson became frustrated with the outdated methods doctors used to access patient data. A year into his neurosurgery residency with Duke (at Durham Regional Hospital), Lawson left to start a software company that would help doctors access that data in a more timely fashion, MercuryMD. The company focused on providing easier ways for physicians and nurses to access patient records through PDAs. Lawson served as the chief software architect for MercuryMD, which grew to serve 200 hospitals and have 70 employees. He later sold the company.
Lawson said that his time as an entrepreneur led him to begin seeking answers to questions about the healthcare system and national debt, which led to his campaign for office.
Lawson's primary campaign focused on issues such as the higher cost of food and the overspending of the federal government.[8 ] Lawson defeated former Orange County GOP chair Augustus Cho to face David Price in the general election.
Lawson was described as a "hybrid candidate," able to gather the support of Democrats discontent with incumbent 4th District representative David Price's record on various issues; at least one of Lawson's county organizers is a lifelong Democrat and a Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama supporter. Lawson gave out more than 50,000 copies of the United States Constitution during the course of his campaign. Lawson obtained 151,672 votes, about 36% of the vote, and the incumbent Price received 263,151 votes and 63% of the vote in the general election; there were no other candidates in the race.[2 ][10 ]
Although he was considered by some to be a more formidable candidate against Price than previous Price Republican opponents, he failed to achieve significantly greater percentage of the vote than past two opponents.[12 ] Lawson ran television ads against Price, which Price's opponents typically do not do. National publication Reason called Lawson "one of the most credible Republican challengers of 2008, period." Lawson raised nearly $600,000 in a district in which the previous Republican contender, Lt. Col. Steve Acuff, raised only $50,000 in 2006. Lawson ordered 50,000 pocket copies of the United States Constitution to hand out to voters during the 2008 election cycle.
Lawson raised almost $600,000 for the campaign, helped with $170,000 in one day during a designated money bomb. His campaign headquarters was in Cary, North Carolina. Lawson's campaign criticized Price for his record on civil liberties and accused Price of not reading bills before he votes on them. Price ran ads against Lawson and brought in Washington, DC staffers to assist in his re-election campaign. Lawson organized a "Peace, Prosperty & Liberty" concert and forum at UNC-Chapel Hill with Jim Neal, Adam Kokesh and Bruce Fein. Lawson and Price also faced off in what the Carrboro Citizen newspaper called a "lively" debate at UNC.
On April 28, Ron Paul sent a letter to his mailing list endorsing Lawson in the 4th's Republican primary, and again on October 3 endorsing him in the general election.
Taking positions that are progressive and libertarian, Lawson has taken "strong stands on civil liberties protections" and against legislation such as the USA PATRIOT Act and the death penalty. Lawson also spoke in opposition to the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility which was proposed to be located in Butner, North Carolina. Lawson stated that various rare diseases, such as foot and mouth disease, classical swine fever, and Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, would be studied at the laboratory and could pose hazards for North Carolina citizens located near the facility. His general election opponent David Price lobbied the federal government for the facility to be located in Butner.
Lawson has spoken against government borrowing and debt, saying "talk of an additional 'stimulus plan' that results in still more government borrowing simply pushes our economic crisis further onto our children and grandchildren." He believes money from entitlement trust funds should not be spent for other purposes. He did not support the Wall Street bailout bill, calling it the "No Bank Left Behind Act" and saying: "In our economy, the bailout plan assumes we need to fight a necessary reduction in debt with yet more debt. To use a medical analogy, debt is like amphetamines. It takes from the future to stimulate you today, and too much of it can kill you. We've become addicted to debt – why do we need more debt-fueled growth, and how much more can we tolerate? We need sustainable, long-term growth fueled by people saving and creating value in their communities – not artificial growth fueled by still more government debt that creates additional burdens for the future."
Lawson has said that he would attempt to eliminate the Congressional pension plan, calling it "an insult to the American worker"; he says if elected, he will not participate in the pension plan. He is also against subsidies for oil companies and believes getting rid of them would help foster alternative energy sources. Lawson has said that alternatives to a federal income tax should be looked into, including a carbon tax: "We want more jobs, productivity, and income – so it doesn't make sense to tax jobs, productivity, and income."
Lawson opposes a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage and "unrelenting globalism driven by corporate interests." He has a "disdain" for giving corporations the same legal rights as individuals.
For health care, Lawson is a proponent of Health savings accounts and catastrophic insurance coverage. The Independent Weekly wrote: "Lawson is right in that insurance companies and bureaucracies are taking health care out of the hands of doctors and patients."
A proponent of local currencies to boost local economies, Lawson serves on the board of the PLENTY Currency Cooperative in Pittsboro, North Carolina and has appeared as a spokesperson for the group in the press, including national outlets such as Fox Business Channel.
Lawson has urged Adam Kokesh to run for Congress in New Mexico in 2010. He has recently begun as a commentator for DownsizeDC.org's newsletter, the Downsizer Dispatch, which promotes campaigns such as Audit the Fed.
Lawson married his high school sweetheart, JoLynn, who attended college in South Carolina while he went to Duke. JoLynn Lawson is a former public school teacher in Durham, North Carolina. They have three children.