Audio: Mark Herring Says VA AG’s Office Needs “A Lot Less Politics…A Lot More Problem Solving”

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    On the John Fredericks Show this morning tore into Ken Cuccinelli, on several major grounds: 1) Cuccinelli’s been a lot more focused on politics than on problem solving, and “that’s the wrong approach for Virginia’s families”; 2) Cuccinelli “went after and persecuted a UVA professor he disagreed with on climate change…[Cuccinelli] used the full powers of the office of Attorney General to go after this scientist, because he disagreed with his science, which is absolutely outrageous and an abuse of power and downright unAmerican…Thomas Jefferson would be spinning in his grave”; 3) the persecution of Professor Mann “turned out just to be a pattern of abuses,” 4) because of Cuccinelli’s “brand of extreme politics, it will be harder and more expensive for Virginia women to receive health care.”

    In stark contrast, Sen. Herring said that when he’s Attorney General, he’ll be focused on “making voting easier, not harder;” “mak[ing] sure the law is working for Virginia families and that we are protecting the rights of people to make their own personal choices about health care and contraception;” “doing what we can to help keep Virginia safe;” “giving law enforcement the tools they need, like updating the laws on designer drugs;” and “that we’re doing everything we can to protect women from domestic violence and abuse.”

    Sen. Herring also noted that most of Cuccinelli’s lawsuits have not been successful (e.g., his failed lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, a failed lawsuit against the EPA), while being very expensive to taxpayers.

    Sen. Herring corrected John Fredericks on what is at best utter ignorance, at worst an egregious, outright lie. According to Fredericks, “overall government spending in the state of Virginia has gone up dramatically…if you go back to a 6-year period.” In fact, as Sen. Herring points out, the general fund budget today was about equal in 2011 to when Herring took office, in 2006. Also, according to PolitiFact, Tim Kaine was correct that “the general fund budget was smaller at the end of his gubernatorial term than at the start.” But don’t believe a Democrat, how about Gov. McDonnell, who brags that “[o]ver the past two years we have eliminated $6 billion in budget shortfalls, and set spending back to nearly 2007 levels.” So what on earth is John Fredericks talking about? Sadly, it’s the myth that Republicans constantly push, that “spending is out of control,” and it’s just flat-out false.

    In other news, Sen. Herring discusses his vote for Gov. McDonnell’s transportation package. The main reasons? Transportation gridlock has been hurting Virginia’s ability to grow our economy; to maintain (let alone enhance) our quality of life; to maintain our attractiveness to businesses thinking about coming to our state and our ability to recruit potential employees to places like northern Virginia, etc. In addition, this transportation funding will help fund rail to Dulles and keep tolls from skyrocketing on the Dulles Toll Road. Of course, Herring points out, the bill’s “not perfect,” but “on balance it does a lot more good than harm.”

    Herring was asked whether he believed in government transparency, and he responded that he’s “a huge believer in open government.” That includes doing a better job of putting budget information online. Surely, Herring says, we can do that in the “internet capital of the world.”

    On the issue of drones, Sen. Herring said we “have to be careful about how law enforcement uses drones, and I’m concerned…that we completely lose our sense of freedom and privacy due to someone looking around through drones…that is a legitimate concern.” Having said that, “there are also probably important times when the unmanned vehicles could probably, in a particular law enforcement action…can save lives…might be an appropriate use of unmanned vehicles, but we’ve got to be real careful about how and when law enforcement goes about employing those types of tactics.”

    Finally, Sen. Herring discussed his campaign for AG, including his long list of endorsements and his view that it would be ideal for both Democrats and Republicans to have a primary to select their nominees in June.