Charlotte Lane officially announces campaign for Congress
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Charleston lawyer Charlotte Lane has the ideal candidate in mind to replace fellow Republican Shelley Moore Capito in Congress.
"What we need at this point in West Virginia's history is someone who has experience, someone who has the guts, and someone who has the proven conservative record to represent this district," Lane said Monday from the north steps on the state Capitol.
"And that person is me."
Lane had previously expressed interest in running for the 2nd Congressional District seat, but officially kicked off her campaign Monday.
Capito announced in late 2012 she is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. Rockefeller announced earlier this year he will not seek re-election.
An attorney by trade, Lane served eight years on the U.S International Trade Commission after President George W. Bush appointed her to the post. She also served in the House of Delegates off an on.
Recently, Lane has worked as an attorney at the Charleston law firm of Shuman, McCuskey & Slicer, PLLC.
Lane outlined three priorities for her campaign. She said creating jobs is her top priority. She thinks that will happen by "reining in the EPA" and fighting against a national "war on coal."
Second, she said she wants to repeal "Obamacare." Formally known as the Affordable Care Act, the sweeping health care overhaul is generally unpopular with national Republicans and especially unsavory to those in the U.S. House.
Third, Lane said she wants to cut federal spending.
Lane, who turned 66 years old Monday, said she is excited to campaign all over the second district. In a separate interview last week, Lane said the fact that she has multiple sclerosis will in no way affect her campaign.
"I was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1981," Lane said. "I had a few episodes early on, and since then I have had a few things, but nothing has ever stopped me from working or campaigning or working fulltime."
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a disease that can affect anything in the body controlled by the brain or the spinal cord, explained Dr. Javier Gonzalez. For the last 10 months, Gonzalez has served as the director of West Virginia University's Center for Multiple Sclerosis.
Lane said she first noticed symptoms in the early 1980s. At the time, she said she felt soreness in her eye. A year later, she said her foot "dropped": she had to limp because she couldn't move it up and down. She saw a doctor, took some medicine and the feeling returned.
At times Lane says she has numbness in one of her legs, but she says it's never stopped her from doing anything. She said she used to run five miles a day, but runs three now because of her busy schedule. The Senate committee that confirmed her appointment to the trade commission knew she had MS and it didn't stop her from getting the post, Lane said.
Eye soreness and loss of strength in the arms or legs are common symptoms of MS, Gonzalez said. If the disease progresses, symptoms can worsen. Gonzalez said those most affected by the disease could experience loss of sensation, coordination problems, speech difficulties, problems with memory and other negative effects.
Lane said she doesn't take medication for her MS, and it's not something she thinks about often. There are different types of MS: Lane said she thinks she has remitting relapsing MS, where someone can experience symptoms and then they go away.
People who suffer from MS can have episodes that are months or years apart, Gonzalez said. In rare cases though, some people have what's considered "benign MS." These people exhibit characteristics of the disease, but it doesn't get any worse.
"It's not very common but yeah, its possible," Gonzalez said.
The course and effects of the disease are different for every person, Gonzalez said. There are a few medications or infections that can cause an episode, but in general Gonzalez said doctors aren't certain if there are any circumstances that can worsen the effects of the disease.
Gonzalez said physical activity is part of the treatment options for many MS patients. Generally the disease does not reduce a person's life expectancy, he said.
Lane said she thinks having MS gives her a better appreciation for others who suffer from a disease.
"My having MS has given me a lot of insight into a lot of people's diseases and the coping that a lot of people have to go through," she said. "And I recognize that I am very lucky that I have been very lucky, and it makes me very grateful."
"But it also helps me recognize and be very concerned about other people who have all sorts of health issues," Lane said.
Since Lane first started publicly discussing a congressional run, she's said she'd like to carry on in the fashion of Capito. On Monday, Lane said she is "in the mold" of Capito.
She's also friend of Capito's father, former Gov. Arch Moore. That relationship played a role when Lane was briefly appointed as a U.S Attorney.
In 1987, five federal judges agreed to appoint Lane to a vacant position within the U.S. Attorney's office. It was the same time the office began its investigation of Moore. Lane said she wasn't aware of the work of the investigation because "I was screened off from that."
"Well ... yes, because I was friends with Governor Moore," Lane said.
Lane said the friendship was public knowledge. Her appointment was temporary, and she was not chosen as the permanent attorney for the position. She said she does not know why she was not chosen.
In the coming days Lane said she's going to focus on campaigning throughout the district. She had a similar kick-off event in Martinsburg on Monday afternoon.
Lane said fundraising has gone well so far. She didn't know exactly how much money the campaign had received, but she estimated it would take $2 million for a successful run. She estimated $500,000 of that needs to go into winning the Republican primary.
Several other Republicans have either announced or expressed interest in running for the seat. Former Maryland lawmaker and GOP party chairman Alex Mooney is running, as is former Berkley County Delegate Larry Faircloth.
Ron Walters Jr., a local financial consultant who is the son of Kanawha County Delegate Ron Walters, will announce his candidacy for the race today. Kanawha County Delegate Suzette Raines said Monday she's almost certain she'll enter the race as well.
For the Democrats, former state party chairman Nick Casey and Kanawha County Delegate Meshea Poore have announced their candidacies.