New Hampshire Businessman Seeks to Be State’s First Black Congressman

Jim Lawrence, a former member of the New Hampshire legislature, is running for Congress in the Republican primary in September.

Posted: 06/11/2014 02:25 PM EDT

Jim Lawrence is seeking not just to win a seat in Congress from New Hampshire. He is also seeking to be the state’s first African-American to represent the state in Washington.

Lawrence, who served three terms in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, is running in the Republican primary in September. He announced his candidacy officially on Wednesday, along with another African-American candidate, Eddie Edwards, who is seeking a seat in New Hampshire’s state senate.

The owner of a consulting business and graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Lawrence has conservative positions on a number of policy issues. For example, he is an opponent of the Affordable Care Act and he opposes increases in the federal minimum wage.

“My message is that I’m running in this race to win back New Hampshire for New Hampshire,” Lawrence said, in an interview with BET.com.

“With regard to the Affordable Care Act, I’m getting a lot of feedback from the citizens of New Hampshire who feel they can’t use the same doctors they used before,” Lawrence said. “And in our rural communities, they have to drive hundreds of miles just to get the care they need.”

Also, he said, he wants to bring back “accountability” to government. “We need that in our federal government so that we don’t have issues like Benghazi again. And we need accountability in government so that we make sure we’re not trading prisoners back to terrorist nations,” he added.

African-Americans make up about 1.4 percent of the population of New Hampshire, which is more than 90 percent white. But Lawrence said that he has already had experience as an elected official in the state and that he plans to run on issues that he believes will resonate with voters.

“I’m very proud to be the first African-American candidate to run for Congress in New Hampshire,” he said. “I was a three-term legislator and I have come to know that New Hampshire will vote for ideas over race. I’m very proud to be a part of this historic experience.”

Follow Jonathan Hicks on Twitter: @HicksJonathan

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(Photo: Courtesy Jim Lawrence for Congress)

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