University of Virginia School of Law, JD, Managing Editor, Virginia Law Review, 2003
Virginia Military Institute, BA, Economics, 1996
-Former federal prosecutor in Richmond, prosecuting violent criminals, white-collar felons and corrupt public officials
-Clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court
-Associate counsel in the Bush White House
-Department Chair at McGuireWoods, one of the nation's largest law firms
As a former federal prosecutor, I have seen first hand the importance of our judicial system, as well as the impact committing a crime has on someone's life. Job one of the attorney general is keeping Virginians safe. That includes getting serious about the dramatic rise in violent crime and gang activity we are seeing in communities around Virginia. But we also must be proactive to keep people from committing crimes in the first place and ensuring that those who have are ready to be productive members of society after they have served their time. While it is now the attorney general’s job to advance legislation, I will defend laws passed by the General Assembly to address this issue.
The number one job of the attorney general is to be Virginia’s lawyer. That means defending the laws passed by the legislature, even if the attorney general disagrees with them. Our current attorney general has repeatedly ignored the laws of Virginia or turned on his client – the Commonwealth of Virginia. It also means advising the Virginia General Assembly through the legislative process. If they are considering passing a law that violates the Constitution, I will do my best as a lawyer to give them good advice and ensure that laws that are passed are Constitutional. Finally, I will stand up to federal overreach, regardless of who is in power in Washington, D.C.
Changes to Virginia’s Constitution take place legislatively and at the ballot box, not in the Attorney General’s office. The role of the attorney general is to defend the laws passed by the citizens through their elected representatives in the General Assembly and enforce the rule of law. Our current Attorney General has politicized the office and substituted his own will for that of the people. I will not use the Office in such a manner.
1. Get the politics out of the office. I’m running for attorney general because of what I see is the over-politicization of the office by our current attorney general. Mark Herring has spent the last four years advancing his own personal political agenda, rather than representing the citizens of Virginia.
2. Provide the best legal representation possible for the Commonwealth of Virginia. I am not a politician and have never run for office. As a Navy veteran, former federal prosecutor, and lawyer in private practice at one of the largest law firms in Virginia, I will use my experience outside of politics to be the best possible lawyer for Virginia.
3. Bring together local, state and federal law enforcement officials and stakeholders to keep our children and communities safe. This includes working to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic and rising violent crime in neighborhoods across Virginia.
As Attorney General, I will work to protect the civil liberties of all Virginians by protecting the integrity of our electoral process. The General Assembly has passed a voter ID law to do just that, and as Attorney General I will defend that law when it comes under attack.
Bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of Virginia. Graduated with honors from the University of Richmond School of Law.
Mark Herring has served as Attorney General of Virginia since January 2014. Prior to that, he represented Loudoun and Fairfax counties in the Virginia Senate and served as a member of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.
In the area of criminal justice reform, I would support proposals such as increasing the felony larceny threshold, removing barriers to unemployment such as driver license suspension when court fees and costs are not fully paid off, increased Rehabilitation and Prevention in our Juvenile Justice Programs to reduce recidivism, and automatic restoration of rights.
If legislation is proposed that is in conflict, I would work with the General Assembly and Governor to amend or alter that language so it is no longer in conflict. When Virginia law is in conflict with federal law or the Constitution, the Attorney General needs to chart a course to resolve those issues. During my time we've dealt with several complex issues related to this, most notably the state's prohibition on same-sex marriages. Virginia ended up being a leader in that effort, and we worked to ensure every individual's rights were protected and won in every court we argued in.
I believe Virginia should include language to ensure non-partisan redistricting. Elections shouldn't be decided by the politicians who draw the lines, they should be decided by the people.
My number one priority is to keep Virginians and their families safe. That means continuing and bolstering our efforts to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic, achieve justice for victims of sexual and domestic violence by ending the backlog of untested rape kits, and crack down on violent gangs. Second is to protect consumers, seniors, veterans, military families, and students from fraud and scams. I’m proud that my Medicaid Fraud Unit was rated best in the nation by the Office of the Inspector General, and my team and I were able to recover nearly $100 million in relief for veterans and military families. We also won the largest Fraud Against Taxpayers Act settlement in Virginia history, recovering more than $63 million. Third is to defend the rights & civil liberties of all Virginians. I’m proud that I was able to help lead the fight to bring marriage equality to Virginia and the fight against President Trump’s Muslim ban. We started an initiative to respond to the rise of hate crimes in Virginia, because Virginia is and must remain an open and welcoming place for all. We’ve also worked to strengthen the relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve, especially in communities of color. I look forward to continuing efforts like these in my next term.
The right to vote is fundamental, and as Attorney General, I’m committed to doing everything I can to defend people’s right to vote and to expand access to the ballot box. I believe we need to make voting easier in Virginia, not harder. That’s why, as a state senator, I authored and supported legislation to do things like expand early voting and make it easier to vote absentee. Also, as a state senator, I opposed policies like voter ID laws. As Attorney General, I’ve supported the efforts of our Governor Terry McAuliffe to restore the voting rights of thousands of Virginians. So many of those Virginians have come up to me as I travel across the state to let me know how much it means to them to have had their rights restored. I would like to see our General Assembly take action to make the restoration of voting rights automatic after an individual has served his or her time and paid restitution. I also supported the decision of Governor McAuliffe to reject requests by President Trump’s commission on voting for the personal information of millions of Virginians. Governor McAuliffe saw that commission for what it is, an attempt to suppress the vote with false and unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.