Virginia’s Democratic incumbent attorney general hit what he said are the highlights of his two terms, while his opponent excoriated the commonwealth’s crime rate and wave of police retirements, during a Sept. 1 forum in Tysons.
Attorney General Mark Herring said he had endeavored in his career to build safe and successful communities, ensure justice and opportunities, foster an open and welcoming society, create a positive business climate and keep firearms out of the wrong hands.
Herring said he had helped secure $10 million for crucial public-safety efforts and advocated for a felony-assessment protocol when dealing with suspects in domestic-violence cases.
“We have transformed Virginia’s response to sexual crimes,” Herring told the audience, noting that his office had eliminated the backlog of results from kits that test for rape.
The attorney general said his Medicare-fraud unit had returned more than $1 billion to taxpayers. Herring added he was asking voters to renew his contract.
“We have come so far,” he said. “We cannot afford to roll this progress back.”
Raised by a single mother, Herring is a former state senator and member of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. He first was elected attorney general in 2013 and has served in that capacity during the administrations of Govs. Terry McAuliffe (D), who is running for another term this year, and Ralph Northam (D).
The event, sponsored by Virginia FREE and held at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner, had Democratic candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general speak first, then let the Republican candidates give their remarks last.
Republican nominee for attorney general Jason Miyares, who since 2017 has erved represented the 82nd District in the House of Delegates, told how his mother had fled Cuba with few resources. Americans should rejoice that unlike in many parts of the world, they do not have to be petrified if they receive a knock at their door, he said.
Miyares expressed dismay with Virginia’s current situation, saying its murder rate is up and many law-enforcement officers are retiring because of policies enacted under single-party rule in Richmond.
Miyares added that Herring had not stopped the Virginia Parole Board from letting convicts out early.
“Do you feel safer today than you did eight years ago?” he asked rhetorically.
Miyares, who chairs the Commission on Economic Opportunity for Virginians in Aspiring and Diverse Communities, said “You’re hired” is an important phrase in people’s lives and that he would seek to make it easier for employers to utter those words. Herring has assigned staff to go after businesses, he added.
“I’m going to call balls and strikes and apply laws equally,” Miyares said.
Voters will make their choice for attorney general in the Nov. 2 election.
The ballot also will be crowded with statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor and each of the 100 House of Delegates seats.