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Mark Lawrence was a Democratic candidate in the 2008 congressional elections for the 1st Congressional District (map) of Maine. He was seeking the Democratic nomination to replace incumbent Rep. Tom Allen (D-Maine), who is running for Senate. He lost primary elections which took place on June 10, 2008. 
Positions, record and controversies
Energy/Global Warming Lawrence is afraid that if we do not act now, the effects global warming will be irreversible, for this reason, he supports efforts to reduce global warming emissions by 80 percent by the the year 2050. He believes that the United States needs to dramatically decrease our dependence on carbon-based fuels. One way he proposes to do this is through investment in alternative energy sources such as wind and solar.Conservation must also be encouraged. Using the tax code to encourage higher home insulation standards and better fuel efficiency in cars could be one effective way to do this. The technology exists to make cars that get upwards of 100 miles per gallon; and Lawrence believes we need to give companies incentives to produce them. Another solution he supports is efforts to move our energy supply to 20% renewables by 2020. The other aspect to consider is the effect of energy on our economy.
Environment Throughout his career, Lawrence has been very active in land conservation issues. One of the first political activities he was involved with was working towards the establishment of the Laudholm Trust in Wells, ME, which successfully conserved 2200 acres around the Little River Estuary, which had been faced with the threat of development. Today, the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve works to protect and preserve the coastal ecosystems of the Gulf of Maine. He is also very concerned with protecting against dangerous toxins in food and water supplies. Maine leaders have been at the forefront of this movement, from Edmund Muskie’s work on the Clean Water Act to George Mitchell’s work on the Clean Air Act and Lawrence believes he too can work towards protecting our environment.
Withdrawing from Iraq Lawrence believes that the Iraq War was a bad idea from the start, and was made even worse with mismanagement, poor planning and just plain arrogance and a stubborn refusal to listen. Tragically, too many of our brave men and women in the military have paid the ultimate price. We cannot afford to continue this reckless course. We must push for the withdrawal of our troops to begin immediately, even if it means forcing the administration's hand by halting funding. The way to support our troops is not to leave them trapped in the middle of a sectarian civil war.
As a prosecutor, Lawrence believes that the fight against terrorists is much like the fight against organized crime. The United States needs to work as part of an international coalition to cut off funding for terror, identify threats before they occur and, most importantly, begin to wage the war of ideas on behalf of democracy and against rigid despotism and theocracy.
Furthermore, Lawrence believes that every intelligence report concurs that the Iraq War has hurt the ability to defeat terrorists. It is time to change course, immediately.
Universal Health Care The United States can no longer try to resolve our health care crisis on a piece meal basis Lawrence suggests; nor can it be fixed state-by-state. A national solution that covers everybody is necessary. Approximately 47 million Americans lack health insurance because they cannot afford it. The cost of coverage is so high that many Americans are cutting back on savings, and also food and heating costs so that they can afford medical care. Too often, all it takes is one medical emergency to plunge an entire family into a financial crisis.
This makes us less healthy as a nation, and hurts the economy. Currently, the United States spends 16 % of its Gross Domestic Product on health care; this number is expected to increase to 20% in the next decade. Other industrialized nations with a universal health care system spend around 9% to 10%.
The for-profit model of health coverage is broken, which is why a national solution is necessary. I would support a single-payer solution that would cut out the bureaucracy and put control back into the hands of doctors and patients.
Lawrence believes that the following two elements are essential to whatever plan is adopted:
1) Everybody is covered. 2) It is administered by a non-profit entity. We are in a position where we can choose the best features of other countries that have national health care systems, and create a truly American health care system that covers everybody. This system would be more efficient, it would allow business to focus on growth rather than worry about insurance for their staffs, and – most important – it will keep Americans healthier.
Education As the youngest of four sons of shipyard worker, Lawrence was raised to understand that a good education is the key to good opportunities in life. While he was attending college and law school, he could earn enough working part-time jobs, and lobstering in the summer, to help pay for a significant part of his education. College costs have risen too fast to make that feasible for most of today's students. When his father, Irving, worked at the shipyard in Kittery, one quarter of his yearly salary could pay for one year of college. Today, that same year of college would cost more than a shipyard worker could earn in a full year! America is a great nation precisely because of its commitment to public education and Lawrence believes we need to maintain and strengthen that commitment, from pre-school to graduate school, to give our children the best chance to compete in a global economy.
Civil Rights More information coming soon!
Jobs America's middle class and working families have been nickeled and dimed by this administration, but the truth is far worse. Bush tax policies have shifted the burden from the wealthiest to struggling wage earners. His trade programs make it easier to ship American jobs overseas and actually reward corporations for doing that, while making everything more expensive here at home. The income difference between CEO's and even middle managers, let alone those working on factory lines and mill floors, has expanded from a gap to a gorge. It's time to turn things around and start standing up for the working families that built this nation, protect this nation and keep it strong.
Restoring the Constitution It is essential for the health of a democracy that the rule of law be paramount. As District Attorney, I see this every day - public trust that the outcomes of the criminal and civil justice system are based upon an unbiased process, free from political interference, is vital to our society. Our Constitution is rooted in the idea of checks and balances - that a vital role of the Legislative and Judicial branches of government is to maintain vigorous oversight over each other and the Executive Branch. But for too long under the Bush administration, we've seen an Executive Branch that believes itself exempt from these checks and balances.
From the political firings of U.S. Attorneys to a domestic surveillance program without judicial review, our Constitution has never been more in peril.
Regardless of who the next president is, only Congress has the power to step up and restore the Constitution.
Mark W. Lawrence is the elected District Attorney for Maine Prosecutorial District One which covers York County, home to one out of every seven Mainers. A native of Kittery, Lawrence was first elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 1988 becoming only the second Democrat elected from Kittery since the Civil War. In 1992, he won a seat in the Maine Senate from another overwhelmingly Republican district.
Elected Democratic leader after just one term, Lawrence helped Senate Democrats secure a majority in 1996. Lawrence was then twice unanimously selected by his colleagues to serve as Senate President. Term limited in 2000, he ran a credible challenge to incumbent US Senator Olympia Snowe.
Appointed in 2003 to fill a vacancy in the York County DA's position, Lawrence carried 26 of York's 29 communities and won a 60 percent victory in his first election to the post. He has since been twice reelected as DA.
Lawrence has a long record of public service, particularly on civil rights, civil justice and environmental protection. He was a member of the Youth Branch of the local NAACP, a volunteer with the Court Appointed Special Advocate program and a founder of the Laudholm Trust and the Wells Natural Estuarine Research Reserve.
As chair of the Legal Affairs and the Natural Resources committees in the Maine Legislature, he sponsored legislation improving justice for injured plaintiffs, equal rights regardless of sexual orientation and protection of Maine's outdoor environment.
As District Attorney, he created a special Domestic Violence Prosecution Team and expanded the Domestic Violence Court project. He fought to establish a Juvenile Fire Setters Diversion Program.
He is a member of the NAACP, the Maine Trial Lawyers Association and the American Association for Justice as well as a Director of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network. Mark has served on the community advisory committee of the York County Community College. He is vice-president of the Kennebec-Chaudière Heritage Corporation and a member of the Franco-American Genealogical Society of York County.
The youngest of four sons of a former shipyard worker at the US navy yard in Kittery, Lawrence attended local public schools and worked his way through Bowdoin College and the University of Maine School of Law as a lobsterman and in local factories. He and his wife, Christina Cunningham, live with their two children in South Berwick.
More background data
firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 207-490-6275
- 2008 U.S. congressional elections
- Portal:Maine and the U.S. Congress
- 2008 Race Tracker page on Maine's 1st Congressional District
- Official Mark Lawrence for Congress website
- Jessica Benton Cooney, "Official Challenge to Maine Sen. Collins Sets Up Key 2008 Match," CQ Politics, May 8, 2007