Name: Elaine Luria
Biography: Elaine Luria graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy 1997. She retired from the U.S. Navy in 2017 after a 20-year career as a Surface Warfare Officer and nuclear engineer. She is the owner of the Mermaid Factory in Norfolk, Va.
Related Video: WAVY News 10 sat down with candidate Elaine Luria at our studios. Here are her replies on the following topics.
1. Why should Virginians elect you to Congress?
Since I was 17, I have dedicated my life to protecting and defending our country, our Constitution, and the freedom of opportunity that I believe makes America a beacon of hope. Throughout six deployments, I never looked to the sailor next to me and asked if she was a Republican or a Democrat. I served under Presidents from both parties and stayed true to the mission at hand. I started a small family business, which connected me to the business community, provided hands-on insight into how to grow our regional economy one storefront at a time, and gave me the opportunity to contribute proceeds to local charities that benefit youth and the arts. These are the experiences I will bring to Congress. In these trying times of crippling partisanship, I believe that this approach to leadership is what Congress needs. I will not be a party line vote, but will look at each bill through the lens of what is right for our district, for our children’s future, and for the values instilled in me by a life dedicated to service to our country.
2. What is the biggest issue facing your district, and how do you plan to address it?
In the Navy, one of my top priorities was to create an environment where people had the tools they needed to succeed, because every sailor’s duty was critical to ensuring our shared mission was accomplished. But what I hear most when I speak with voters across Coastal Virginia is that too many people in our community are struggling to provide for the basic necessities, and this is hampering their prospects of success. Family budgets are stressed by the rising cost of healthcare, rent, child care, and college tuition. Budding entrepreneurs are thwarted by the prevalence of discriminatory lending practices and a lack of access to capital. Our system has continued to prioritize the shareholders and the CEOs at the expense of working families and Congress has given them a pass on our collective duty to care for the least among us. In Congress, I will work to make our economy work for everyone in our community by protecting Social Security and Medicare, expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare, safeguarding educational opportunities, and confronting injustice and discrimination so that everyone has an equal shot at achieving their American Dream.
3. What businesses and industries would you try to attract to your district?
As a small business owner, I will support initiatives that diversify our economy and equip entrepreneurs with the tools they need to transform their ideas into thriving storefronts and economic engines for our community. When I speak with economic development experts across the district, I consistently hear that in order to attract well-paying jobs, we need to prepare our workforce with the skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy and attract new industry to our region. With the right workforce development initiatives, infrastructure upgrades, and educational pathways to collaboration, Hampton Roads would be able to benefit from increased job opportunities in the fields of cybersecurity, engineering management solutions to address sea level rise, and increased aquaculture and ecotourism industries.
4. What are the top three challenges facing the Department of Defense, and how would you address them?
Congress needs to execute its Constitutionally mandated oversight function to address three challenges facing our DoD: establish a continuous funding stream and end sequestration, invest in the cyber security hardware necessary to maintain a competitive advantage on the battlefields of the 21st century, and require a cohesive strategy that balances Combatant Commander desires with the reality of fiscal constraints. We need to lay out our strategic objectives for the American people so that civilians and servicemembers alike have trust, confidence, and respect for the mission of our military and the sacrifices made by our troops and veterans.
5. In the face of a government shutdown, is it more important to make sure the budget passes or that your legislative aims are achieved? How would you apply your answer to the most recent shutdown threat?
A government shutdown is never acceptable and neither party should play politics with the basic functioning of our government. Republicans and Democrats needs to work together to prevent a government shutdown because federal employees and military service members should never be the victims of partisan bickering. President Trump’s threat via Twitter to shut down our government and jeopardize our military readiness so that he can fulfill a flawed campaign promise was another example of how his leadership and the extreme partisanship in Congress is failing Coastal Virginia. January’s government shutdown was reckless and unnecessary. I publicly disagreed with my party’s position because, here in Hampton Roads, when we don’t have a long-term budget, our military can’t plan for the future, ship maintenance falls behind, civilian workers are threatened with furloughs, and our regional economy suffers.