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AG hopeful outlines his office goals
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Democratic attorney general hopeful Sen. Mark Herring (left) presents his views on various issues at Binding Time Cafe Tuesday morning. (Bulletin photo)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

From Bulletin staff reports

State Sen. Mark Herring hopes to get his party’s nomination in June, win the November election and when he takes office in January, refocus the Attorney General’s Office on protecting individuals, individual rights and the law.

Herring, D-Leesburg, was in Martinsville on Tuesday, asking for voters’ support in the June 11 Democratic primary when he will face Justin Fairfax, a former federal prosecutor from Alexandria. The winner of that primary will be the Democratic Party’s candidate for attorney general in the Nov. 5 election.

According to Herring, the November election is “about whether we want to continue to have someone like” current Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, “who has bent and twisted the law for his own means.”

“We need to refocus on making families safe (and) protecting” individual rights in areas such as marriage and the right to vote, he said.

Herring said he supports restoring rights to convicted nonviolent offenders upon completion of their sentences and women’s rights to make their own health decisions.

“I also have fought against the GOP on women’s rights” — a battle that he continues, Herring said. He also worked this year to create a health exchange to implement so-called Obamacare (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) in Virginia and expand Medicaid, he said.

After hearing arguments from both sides of the uranium mining controversy, Herring said he “came out strong against lifting the ban” to allow uranium mining.

An FBI probe is underway to determine some state officials’ relationship to Star Scientific, a diet/supplement Virginia company whose CEO paid a $15,000 catering bill for Gov. Bob McDonnell’s daughter’s 2011 wedding. Cuccinelli owned unreported stock in the company, according to online reports.

Herring said he called for the Department of Justice to investigate the matter.

On Tuesday, Herring said that probe is continuing, and he does not know when it may end.

Herring, who first was elected to the Senate in 2006, said he has “championed legislation to protect seniors and” others from scams and worked to “take dangerous designer drugs off the streets ... and out of the hands of young people.” As a member of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Domestic Violence and Response Advisory Board, Herring said he sponsored and helped pass legislation to strengthen penalties for acts of domestic violence.

He is on the Senate General Laws and Technology, Commerce and Labor, Local Government and Rehabilitation and Social Services committees.

He has been in civil law practice for 23 years in Leesburg. He said he first got involved in local politics because local officials in his native Loudoun County were not keeping up with the area’s growth by building schools and other needed infrastructure.

After winning a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, he became chairman of the Land Use Committee and developed a record as an advocate for economic development and road improvements that create jobs and transportation solutions, according to online reports.

In Martinsville, Herring explained that his parents separated when he was young, and he was raised primarily by his mother and sister. His father moved to another state that did not recognize Virginia’s decrees regarding child support and visitation, he said.

His first job out of high school was as a laborer, where he operated a jackhammer 60 hours a week, Herring said. Between that job and others, he worked his way through the University of Virginia and then earned his law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law.

Herring and his wife, Laura, have been married for 23 years and have a son and a daughter, according to online reports.


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