The Attorney General I’ll Be
As Attorney General, I’ll put the law first, not politics. I will be the Attorney General for all of the people in our state. Virginians deserve the respect and protection of the law, regardless of the Attorney General’s personal politics.
As a member of the Virginia State Senate, I have worked hard to protect Virginians by putting aside political posturing and instead focus on finding solutions to the challenges Virginians face each day. As Attorney General, I will continue to do so. In particular, I will focus on the following areas:
Keeping Virginia’s Families Safe
As Attorney General, I will make protecting Virginians a top priority, particularly for our most vulnerable citizens. In 2012, I received a “Champion of Justice” award from the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys because I took on tough issues like designer drugs and protecting victims of domestic violence. This is the approach I will take to the Office of Attorney General.
Those of us with aging parents or otherwise incapacitated adult family members know how important it is to protect them from being taken advantage of by scammers and con artists. I will use the office of the Attorney General to protect the elderly, just as I have done as a State Senator. In the legislature, I sponsored and passed a bill to make it a crime to knowingly financially exploit an older or incapacitated adult.
Combating Sexual and Domestic Abuse
As a member of the Governor’s Domestic Violence Response and Advisory Board, I have learned about some gut-wrenching cases of sexual and domestic abuse. Reports of domestic violence are on the rise in many areas of Virginia, and I believe the state can and should do more to ensure Virginians can live free of fear of becoming a victim of sexual or domestic violence. That’s why I championed legislation to strengthen penalties for strangulation, one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence. As Attorney General, I will continue to make this issue a priority.
Protecting Our Youth
I also believe we must do more to protect our youth. Recent tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School have placed a spotlight on gun violence. I have and will continue to support common sense reforms to reduce gun violence including one-handgun-per-month and closing the gun show loophole. I also support increasing state resources to improve Virginia’s mental health system to ensure young people who need help are identified and receive the services they need.
Unfortunately, the threat of gun violence is not the only danger our young people face today. I have sponsored and passed legislation to criminalize dangerous designer drugs such as synthetic marijuana and bath salts. We must remain vigilant as long as there are those who would manufacture and sell dangerous chemicals to our kids.
Defending Civil Rights
While we have come a long way in Virginia toward equal protection under the law for all citizens, we have fallen short in several critical areas. As a State Senator, I have been fighting to protect civil rights, particularly in recent years as assaults against the rights of women and minorities have dominated the political debate. As Attorney General, I will continue to do so.
Read Mark's Equality Agenda.
Women’s Health Care
As Attorney General, I will stand up for the right of women to make their own health care decisions and defend a woman’s right to choose. As a State Senator, I introduced legislation to repeal harmful regulations imposed on women’s health centers designed to restrict access to affordable healthcare for women, because I believe a woman has the right to determine what’s best for her body. Similarly, I opposed extremist legislation requiring unnecessary and invasive ultrasound procedures for women.
The right to vote is fundamental. That’s why I oppose policies like requiring a voter ID at the polls aimed at making it harder for Virginians to vote. That’s why I co-sponsored legislation to the voting rights for non-violent offenders. And, that’s why I introduced legislation to implement the same election reforms at the state level that Senator Mark Warner and Congressman Gerry Connolly are fighting for at the federal level to make voting easier and reduce long lines at the polls. I will use the Office of Attorney General to make voting easier and to stop attempts to inhibit Virginians’ right to vote.
I believe people should be equally protected under the law regardless of what they believe in, what gender they are, what they look like, or whom they love. I support marriage equality and efforts to stop discrimination in hiring. As a State Senator, I co-sponsored legislation to prohibit discrimination in state hiring. I oppose the so-called “conscience-clause” legislation that permits discrimination by private, state-funded adoption agencies, as well as extreme “anti-sharia” bills aimed at discriminating against religious minorities.
Fighting to Protect Consumers and Ensuring a Level Playing Field for Businesses
Protecting consumers, ensuring fairness in the marketplace and maintaining Virginia’s status among the most business-friendly states in America will be a top priority of mine as your Attorney General.
As Attorney General, I will work to support existing businesses in the Commonwealth, enforce laws that will attract new businesses to our state and create opportunities for small, women and minority-owned businesses. Given the uncertainty in Washington, D.C., we must do all we can at the state level to maintain and grow our economy. As a State Senator, I have focused on economic development and job creation, and I will continue to do so as Attorney General. I carried legislation that created the Commonwealth Research and Commercialization Fund to help grow Virginia’s innovation economy. I sponsored and passed the Virginia Innovation Investment Act to attract new investment in technology start-ups. And I carried legislation that will help implement the Affordable Care Act in Virginia, better enabling our businesses and citizens to adapt to the new law.
Protecting our Natural Resources
As Attorney General, I will work to enforce common sense laws that protect our air, water, and open space. When it comes to our environment, my office will be guided by the law and by science, not political ideology.
I support increased investment in alternative energy, particularly offshore wind and solar. I oppose lifting Virginia’s ban on uranium mining and milling, and I supported then-Governor Kaine’s effort to preserve over 400,000 acres of open space.
Improving Transportation and Infrastructure
We all know Virginia has a transportation problem. A recent report listed the Northern Virginia region as the most congested area in the nation, with Hampton Roads not far behind. The hours people spend in traffic each day is time away from work, family, or recreational activities. And, cars idling on our highways leads to high levels of pollution. Addressing our transportation problems not only will ease traffic, but will ultimately lead to better air quality. That’s why I led the effort in the General Assembly to secure $300 million in additional state funding for the Dulles Rail Project in Northern Virginia and authored the Virginia Telework Tax Credit to encourage companies to set up telework programs. As Attorney General, I will promote and enforce laws to fix transportation so people can get moving again, and to improve our air quality.
Supporting Our Service Members, Veterans and Their Families
Virginia is fortunate to be home to so many military personnel, their families and veterans. I strongly believe it is important to honor their service by ensuring that they have the full support of the state and communities throughout our Commonwealth.
As Attorney General, I will do everything in my power to support those brave men and women currently serving, as well as their families. Additionally, we should make it easier for veterans to transition smoothly into the workforce when they return. As a State Senator, I have served as co-chair of the General Assembly’s Virginia National Guard Caucus. I sponsored legislation that exempts payments to individuals from the Virginia Military Family Relief Fund from state income tax. And, I championed the Virginia Military Parents Equal Protection Act in 2008, which protects military parents from losing important child custody and visitation rights as a result of their deployment.
Mark Herring is the only Democratic candidate for Attorney General to have been endorsed in the past by:
- Virginia Education Association
- Virginia League of Conservation Voters
- Sierra Club
- Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia
- NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia
- Virginia Partisans PAC
- Democratic Latino Organization of Virginia
- The Northern Virginia Technology Council
- NOVA Biz PAC (Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce)
- Northern Virginia Association of Realtors
- Virginia Professional Firefighters Association
- Fairfax County Professional Firefighters & Paramedics Association