Drug Abuse and Overdose Crisis
In the last year alone, we have lost over 1,400 lives to drug overdoses in Virginia, outpacing deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents and gun-related incidents. Well over half of those overdoses are due to the opioids and heroin epidemic. Currently, there are several agencies, localities, and community-based programs working hard to fight this epidemic. Virginia’s Attorney General, however, needs to do much, much more to leverage state resources and enhance those efforts across the Commonwealth. That's why John has put together a statewide substance abuse and overdose policy proposal that focuses on three main areas: prevention and education; treatment; and, enforcement. Read the full plan here.
Safety and Security
The safety of our communities is a chief concern for all elected officials. As your Attorney General, I will protect this Commonwealth just as I protected our nation as a naval officer and federal prosecutor.
I support tough but effective laws to combat drug dealing, human trafficking, and violent crimes in Virginia. I believe that stopping violence and drug addiction starts with the successful prosecution of violent criminals and drug dealers. As a former federal prosecutor here in Virginia, I know how to keep drug dealers and violent criminals off the streets.
Safety also includes protecting our financial resources and insuring public officials live up to the high standards citizens rightly expect. I have prosecuted those who illegally profited by stealing from Virginia taxpayers. For example, I led the investigation and prosecution of a former Virginia Secretary of Finance who embezzled more than $4 million from Virginia's tobacco settlement fund, thereby diverting precious state resources intended to improve literacy for his own personal gain.
Finally, the Attorney General has the duty to defend the Commonwealth's criminal convictions on appeal. As a former U.S. Supreme Court law clerk and practicing appellate attorney, I have the experience necessary to represent the Commonwealth in every court.
Jobs and Economy
“Yet the basic fact remains: every regulation represents a restriction of liberty, every regulation has a cost. ” – Margaret Thatcher
Growing Virginia’s economy is a top priority. Virginians deserve better than the 0% economic growth rate that Terry McAuliffe’s and Mark Herring’s policies have brought us.
Our next Attorney General needs the know-how to fight back against overreaching regulation. I have spent the past several years fighting the federal government on matters that directly affect jobs in Virginia. As your Attorney General, I will continue the fight against Washington bureaucrats. That starts with shutting down the Obama administration’s power plant regulations that would destroy Virginia’s valuable coal industry. These regulations are an unlawful power grab by the federal government that will kill jobs and drive up electricity costs.
Further, I oppose the idea of mandatory union fees for workers. Virginia is a right-to-work state, and Virginia should not be filing briefs in the Supreme Court supporting mandatory union fees. As Attorney General, I will work to make Virginia business-friendly state again by defending us against job-killing regulations that only make doing business in Virginia more difficult.
Law-abiding citizens have a constitutional right to purchase and own firearms. That is not a political opinion or a policy choice. It is the supreme law of the land, protected in the Constitution. After the Founding Fathers won their freedom from a tyrannical government, they drafted the Second Amendment to ensure that our new government would never disarm its citizens. History demonstrates that citizens’ right to bear arms is supremely important to ordered liberty and freedom.
I own several firearms for sport and protection. I am an avid hunter and angler, and I love the outdoors. I am also outraged and saddened by the murderous acts of those who use guns to commit terrible crimes. Gun violence is a serious problem that demands serious answers. We must start by enforcing laws that are already on the books to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those suffering with mental illness. We also must ask ourselves tough questions about what makes people want to commit such horrific acts. But disarming law-abiding citizens is not the path to solving these problems. As your Attorney General I will vigorously defend the Second Amendment.
That religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.
Constitution of Virginia, Bill of Rights.
Virginia's Founding Fathers made us a beacon of religious freedom for the rest of the world. But our first freedom is under attack from activist judges and liberal bureaucrats who would leave people of faith defenseless against Washington and its accomplices in Richmond. I'll bring the experience we need to fight for the free exercise rights of all Virginians.
When the federal government tried to squelch the religious liberty of nuns and small business owners, I stood up for the freedoms of all Americans in the Supreme Court. I represented pro bono clients in Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor, and I'll fight whenever our religious freedom is under attack. I will also oppose discrimination of any kind including when it is masked on religious grounds and in bad faith.
“Education doesn't begin with some isolated bureaucrat in Washington. It doesn't even begin with state or local officials. Education begins in the home, where it is a parental right and responsibility. ” - Ronald Reagan
Educated in public schools from kindergarten through law school, I understand the importance of a sound public education. I will fight to ensure that every student finds the same opportunities from our schools that I experienced. But, I also recognize the right and responsibility to educate our children lies foremost with parents — not politicians. Parents must be trusted to choose how best to educate their children.
That’s why I support school choice. I will defend any initiative that gives parents a meaningful choice in their children’s education. And I will support lawful efforts to increase access to charter schools in Virginia.
For some families, the right choice is education in the home. I support parents’ rights to choose home schooling. Having played sports throughout my youth, I also understand the important life lessons that flow from participation in team sports. No child, regardless of how they are educated, should be deprived of the ability to participate in school sports.
Defending Our Values
“We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life -- the unborn -- without diminishing the value of all human life. ” – Ronald Reagan
I am unequivocally pro-life. By that I mean I will never waiver in my commitment to protect innocent life. I believe that all human life is precious, created equal, and deserving of legal protection, whether already — or yet to be — born.
The fact that abortion is now a constitutional right demonstrates the raw power of the Supreme Court. It also shows how important it is for Virginia to have an effective and principled lawyer to represent us before that Court. As your Attorney General, I will fight up to and at the Supreme Court to protect Virginians from further judicial overreach.
In Virginia, I will fight to uphold strict standards for abortion clinics and ensure that all laws passed by the General Assembly, including those that protect the unborn, are defended in court when they come under attack. I believe that we must promote a culture of life in Virginia. This starts with protecting the unborn and standing up for the defenseless and voiceless in society.
To allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be resolved by a highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.
Justice Scalia’s Dissent, Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)
My personal belief is that marriage is between one man and one woman. Under our Constitution, Virginians — and citizens of all states — have every right to define marriage under their state laws as they see fit. If the citizens of Maine choose to allow gay marriage, that is their right. And if the people of Virginia choose otherwise, that is their right, too. The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision forcing the states to redefine marriage was not based on anything in the Constitution, and it denied American citizens of the very right to self-government our Founding Fathers fought for.
As your Attorney General, I would never disrespect the will of Virginians by refusing to defend perfectly valid Virginia Constitutional amendments in court. Even though Mark Herring voted for our marriage amendment as a state Senator, he invited the courts to destroy it by refusing to even serve as Virginia’s lawyer in the case challenging it. Virginia deserves better. Virginia needs a new lawyer.