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Henry Lawrence

Henry Lawrence, Candidate for the US House of Representatives

| Sande Caplin |

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Q- Would you say that is your ‘American Dream,’ people working together and being held accountable for their actions?

A- “Yes.  Yes, but the other part of it is there are so many things wrong and so many things we see wrong, but we don’t do anything about it.  This is supposed to be a democracy.  Now, with that  government shutdown, I thought that was the most disrespectful thing that anybody could’ve done regardless of who’s at fault.  It was a total, total disregard to us, the people and our country.  Nothing like that is supposed to happen.  How in the world is something like that allowed to happen?  How can one man (the Speaker of the House) prevent a bill that possibly could help millions of people, from being presented?  How can you give someone that kind of power?  That’s the way we’re operating and I think we are operating in a terribly wrong manner.”

Little simple things that could have made a difference in our local economy by bringing more jobs and people to the area, as well as getting the community spending their money at home, would’ve been the projected Light Rail System here in Florida.  Another is the Sarasota International Airport, which should have originally been built out on the other side of Interstate 75, but, because of some “small-minded people”, is in its current location.  You drive by and it’s like a ghost town when it could’ve been a true “international” airport.  Fort Myers did it and Tampa is the closest option for Sarasota/ Manatee residents who are looking to save money and have options.  

“This is where you have people who have their own agenda, their own concerns, and not concerns for the whole.  I don’t have all those answers, but collectively people can help finances and make decisions based on what’s best for all, instead of what’s best for ‘my’ interest.”

Former NFL Player for the Oakland RaidersQ- Do you feel prejudged in your political race?  You’re a professional football player nicknamed “Killer”, singer, entertainer, a well known and loved figure in the community, a role model to the children, but are you concerned people might think your political candidacy is more of a gimmick than a serious investment?

A- “I’ve always been prejudged, but because I was prejudged doesn’t mean I have to believe what they’re judging.”

Henry Lawrence wasn’t always the athlete we know and love him to be.  In school he was a part of student council and held the elected position of class President.

Henry is learning and absorbing a lot these days.  He is talking with the experts on critical matters affecting the people and looking with an open mind, finding different views to solve the answers to some serious problems.  “It’s going to take this country, the people, the voters, and I know not everyone is  listening, but it’s going to take the voters to stand up and say, ‘We are tired of the bullshit.”

Henry Lawrence is very clear about his platform.  It’s all about connecting with the people.  “…to connect with the people, and to let them know we’re not above them.”

Henry is the same guy, of the same character, he was brought up to be.  He may have a long list of titles behind his name, several keys to city’s, Super Bowl rings, again the list continues.  He’s remained grounded, steadfast in his early morals, his beliefs, and community which he has never failed to view as “where I come from.”

“I’ve been blessed.  Like I said, I had no idea that I’d be going into the NFL.  When my school got closed, I went to Manatee High School, and the third game of the season I got benched.  I never played again until a minute left in the season.”  That was Henry Lawrence’s Senior year and while he sat on the bench, he still made “…High School All-State, All-County, All-American, All-everything…”  It was a learning experience Henry says he would’ve “loved to do without.”  “There are many experiences.  I think that some of them I’ve learned from, and some of them I have not.  There are many things I have not learned enough from, but I think that one should always continue to be open to learning.  If you stay on this earth long enough, you’re going to screw up; you’re going to make a mistake.  The only way that you don’t screw up, and don’t make a mistake, is if you go and sit on your butt and do nothing.  That in itself is a screw up because then you’ll do nothing.”

Q- I know you recently had some problems with Manatee County closing its’ polls early, but what has been the number one obstacle you’ve encountered since running for Congress?

A- “It’s been blatant, the disregard.  One could say they’re doing it to the Blacks, but when you really look at it, it’s targeted towards everyone, those that don’t have a lot, that would like to have, but don’t have…I’m looking at the blinders that we all put on.  ‘Cause I grew up a Democrat, and all my people are Democrats, so I’m a Democrat and that’s the only way I’m going to vote.  I’m a Republican, all my people are Republicans, and that’s the only way I’m going to vote’.  I think that’s causing a big part of our problem in this country because we’re not looking at the essence of what they’re bringing to the table whether it be a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent.  I think we really need to start looking at it more and then hold some accountability.”

Q- There are many versions out there, how you got your nickname in the NFL, but I happen to know you got the name in high school.  So give me the scoop, what’s the real story behind “Killer”?

A- Henry’s itty-bitty seventh grade teacher saw something in the young man.  By Freshman year of high school, Henry was playing Varsity football.  On Tuesday though, Henry played with the Freshman team his old, tiny teacher had started.  

Brutal, playing with abandon and real recklessness was young Henry’s M.O.  “We’re playing a game and I came in to make the tackle, and I hit the guy.  All of a sudden blood was everywhere and wouldn’t you know it, I knocked my teeth out.  I had gold teeth that I had gotten up the road when I was doing migrant farm work…I had an open faced crown, that was happening back then in the Black community.  I used to walk into class and I’d be styling, but then I got my teeth knocked out.  My classmates, we all had fun, but they were vicious.”  When the yearbook came out, Henry’s coach was the editor of it; they had a picture of Henry flying through the air with a caption that said, “Henry ‘Killer’ Lawrence.”  

“…and they started calling me ‘Killer’.”  John Madden called Henry, personally himself, to tell him he had drafted him in the first round.  Art Shell, “Hall of Famer and first modern day Black Head Coach,” came down to teach Henry the “Raider Way.”  One day as they were going to eat in the cafeteria, one of the guys yelled out, “Hey, Killer.”  Art said, “What in the hell are they talkin’ about a killer?”  “When he went back to Oakland, ‘Killer’ followed me to Oakland.  ‘They call him ‘Killer’.’  So Gene Upshaw was like, ‘Oh yeah, ‘Killer!’  I wasn’t able to shake it, but I never tried to.  It was all in good spirit.”

“Killer” doesn’t remember what the other guy looked like that day.  He was probably suffering from a concussion, but when his dentist did x-rays of his mouth, it was a surprising what they saw.  One of Henry’s missing front teeth grew back.  Although he checked the football field many times, he never found his gold teeth.  They’re  probably still out there.

Q- What is the motto you live your life by?

A- “The one my Mama used to point out to me, she says, ‘you’ve got to have a made up mind’.”

Pro Football Hall of FameHenry’s mother’s  “can do” attitude and seeing her tackle projects that nobody else wanted to tackle, watching her get the job done were all great examples for the impressionable Henry.  “What it did was inspire me to keep going.  Coach Shannon, who was at Manatee….. he has this poem, ‘Keep It Goin’.  It’s always stuck with me, just keep it going.  I tell kids, ‘it doesn’t matter how dim it looks, but you still got to keep it going.  The only time that you stop is when you just can’t go anymore.”   

“I went up to D.C. to visit with the National Democratic Party while they were having the shutdown…When I came back, I was talking to a group of kids, telling the kids ‘you got to go for it; you got to reach beyond where you are.  If you don’t, then you’ll stay where you are.  If you don’t reach for it, you’re not going to grab it and get it…If I know I’m talking to some kids five years, ten years from now, and I’m saying ‘you know you can do this’ and they say, ‘Why didn’t you do it; why didn’t you try?’  The only way I’d be able to answer that is to say, ‘I did it’.”

“The American Dream that was placed deep in our hearts by our forefathers seems to be diminishing…This is not the future our ancestors envisioned for us when they struggled to create a better life for future generations.  We must honor their sacrifices by protecting this nation and our way of life.  From my humble beginnings to the thrill of Super Bowl victories, I have always felt a gratitude and obligation to give back; to protect those who are unable to defend themselves; to help young people create their own dreams; to honor our seniors who were indeed the greatest generation; to bring civility and dignity back into the political process. While there are many ways in which to serve this nation, I have decided to earn the opportunity to represent the people of Sarasota-Manatee Counties, the state of Florida, and the United States of America. It would be a privilege and honor to be the voice in the House of Representative for all those who make this country great…”

To support Henry Lawrence, send all campaign contributions to:

Henry Lawrence For Congress
P.O. Box 1204
Tallevast, FL 34270

Lee Volpe

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