Lawrence Mason is the Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates District 79. His name will appear on the ballot on Nov. 2.
Name: Lawrence Mason
Race: Virginia House of Delegates District 79
Biography: Lawrence Mason is a U.S. Navy veteran and a volunteer first responder. He is originally from New York, where he worked as a firefighter before joining the Navy in 2012. He was stationed in Hampton Roads in 2013. From there, he has deployed overseas and worked at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. He separated from active duty in 2020 and continues to serve in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He is pursuing a bachelor’s of science degree in emergency management and public safety from Grand Canyon University.
Why should residents elect you to the Virginia House of Delegates?
I firmly believe in the idea of putting people above politics. I will always fight for the people of the 79th District and of Virginia. I will never violate my integrity, and I will never allow our district to be bought and sold. Additionally, as a U.S. Navy veteran who served the bulk of my career in Hampton Roads, I have a unique perspective on the issues faced by area residents.
What do you hope to accomplish, if elected?
I will bring accountable and ever-present representation back to the citizens of the 79th District. Oftentimes, our elected representatives, especially at the state level, do not engage with the communities they represent. I have always worked to serve the communities I live in, and I will continue that as a delegate. Through this engagement, we can work towards meaningful solutions to the issues faced in Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Chesapeake.
What is the biggest issue facing your district, and how do you plan to address it?
Issues in the 79th District are interconnected and related. The high crime rate causes small businesses to set up shop elsewhere. This leads to the high tax rates and low rate of development throughout the district. This leads to a poor quality of public facilities, such as parks and schools, and poor quality roads. If I had to pick one issue, I would say it is the high crime rate. Bringing down the violent crime will lead to success on other issues.
What is your position on Virginia’s overall response to the Coronavirus pandemic, and what might you have done differently?
I think our response to COVID-19 was unorganized and poorly executed. First off, the Governor’s Office should not have dictated through executive emergency orders. The state government should have provided guidance and resources to the localities because you cannot treat every part of the state the same. Second, we destroyed small businesses while allowing large corporations to operate largely unaffected when we should have prioritized resources for our small businesses, as they are the real backbone of our state economy.
What are the top three issues created by the coronavirus pandemic in your district, and how would you plan to address them?
- Small businesses: They have been the hardest hit part of our economy, and we need to prioritize resources, including job placement assistance and financial aid, to those businesses.
- Education: Our students, families, and educators were put through unprecedented challenges this past year. That being said, we have proven that we can come back to in-person learning, and we must for the wellness of our children. Virtual learning removed kids from a vital part of their development, interacting with others in person, and we must find a balance between COVID-19 safety and enabling healthy child development.
- Mental Health: The pandemic forced us into unique circumstances. Long term isolation and lack of human interaction, losing loved ones, and the stresses associated with the changes we all faced placed a great rigor on our mental health and showed the weaknesses in our mental healthcare system. We need to place better emphasis on funding and supporting mental healthcare efforts at the state and local level.