I just got off a conference call with Sen. Mark Herring’s AG campaign, in which he proudly announced the kickoff of “Women for Herring”, including over 100 women leaders from all across Virginia who are supporting Herring’s campaign for Attorney General, as well as a comprehensive, detailed, positive policy agenda (click here and see on the “flip” for more on that) that will help Virginia women in the problems they face in their everyday lives. Herring emphasized that “equal opportunities and rights for women and men are critical to the well being and progress of everyone – individuals, families and communities” in Virginia. Herring promised that as AG he’ll “pursue an agenda that provides equal opportunity for women, respects women’s rights to make their own healthcare decisions, and provides security for Virginia’s families.
Herring also blasted Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli for doing the “exact opposite” in their “attacks on women’s reproductive rights;” “unnecessary regulations that will force healthcare clinics to shut down;” to “mandatory, invasive ultrasounds that Republicans tried forcing onto women;” to “making health care less accessible for women and more expensive for women.” In sum, Sen. Herring declared that “this extreme, punitive, and out-of-touch agenda that Virginia Republicans have made their top priority is wrong and it’s going to stop when I’m Attorney General.” He added that “Virginians are ready for an Attorney General who puts the law first and who stands up for their rights” and promised, “that’s the kind of Attorney General I’ll be.”
Sen. Barbara Favola, Chair of the Women’s Reproductive Health Caucus in the Virginia State Senate, added:
…I know that Mark is the candidate for Attorney General who has the strength and the courage to take on the extreme agenda of Ken Cuccinelli and the Republicans. I know Mark…we have worked together, I know how effective he is, and I know where his values are. Virginia’s women can trust Mark Herring because he’s…always been there for us. The last two General Assembly sessions, he fought to ensure that women could keep control of their reproductive health choices…Mark is the only candidate for Attorney General who’s been an outspoken opponent of the TRAP regulations…putting medically unnecessary, extremely costly and burdensome regulations on women’s health care clinics across the state…
…I fought with Mark on the floor of the Senate to ensure that we won the expansion of Medicaid…Mark was very influential in getting us there. Mark knows that issues of women’s health care are family and economic issues…he was raised by a mother and sister, so he understands how women fit into the economic fabric of our society and how important it is to have fair policies…
As Chair of the Women’s Reproductive Health Caucus, I fully support Mark Herring for Attorney General, because I know he has our backs, I know we can trust him, we as women who care about economic equity and access to health care and privacy in our health care decisions. I know he’ll have our back, I also know he’s very effective…for those reasons, I am wholeheartedly behind his candidacy.
Finally, domestic violence victims’ advocate Gena Boyle thanked Mark Herring for “setting the bar high with a policy agenda that will protect victims of sexual and domestic violence and improve the lives of all Virginia women.” Boyle added that she’s “pleased the policy agenda includes commonsense measures to reduce gun violence,” including “universal background checks” as well as “closing a loophole in Virginia law that currently allows some convicted of domestic violence to purchase a firearm.” In Boyle’s view, “These measures will be very crucial for addressing domestic violence homicides in Virginia…the evidence is clear that domestic violence and firearms is a lethal combination.” Boyle pointed out that protecting women from violence is certainly about “increased penalties for perpetrators,” but also about giving “our first responders the tools they need in the field,” and supporting projects to support prevention programs. Boyle explained that she’s supporting Mark Herring because, “unlike some in the legislature and in statewide office, he has always supported laws that provide protections for all victims of domestic violence, not just those married to or living with a perpetrator.” Boyle concluded the AG can play a very important role on these issues, and that she’s “very excited that Mark is in the race, because I trust him to keep Virginians and their families safe, and because women and especially victims of violence deserve a champion like him.”
More broadly, I’d point out that Mark Herring’s campaign for Attorney General has consistently been putting out substantive policy proposals. That’s impressive, but not surprising, given Sen. Herring’s deep knowledge of the issues facing Virginia. For instance, a few weeks ago, Sen. Herring’s campaign unveiled its three-point, LGBT “Equality Agenda,” which called for: a) Prohibiting Discrimination In State and Local Government; b) Protecting Children And Ensuring Safety In Our Schools; and c) Promoting Strong Families. That plan was well received by members of Virginia’s LGBT community, as it demonstrates strong leadership on the issues facing LGBT Virginians, a commitment to their equality and protection from discrimination, and a dramatic change of pace from the homophobic Attorney General currently besmirching the office.
Now, Mark Herring’s issued an impressive series of policy proposals that will benefit all Virginia women. You can read all about them here, but in brief, they include: a) “Repealing Extreme Policies And Expanding Healthcare;” b) “Protecting Virginia Families;” c) “Combating Sexual and Domestic Violence;” and d) “Creating Jobs and Ensuring Paycheck Fairness.”
How will Mark Herring use the AG’s office to promote these goals? On goal “d,” for instance, Herring will “use the resources of the [AG’s] office to support women-owned and minority-owned businesses and work to put them on a level playing field when competing for state contracts.” And on goal “b,” Herring will – among other things – “establish a ‘Designer Drug Task Force’ that includes law enforcement, prosecutors and forensics experts to implement solutions so that Virginia can stay one step ahead of the drug manufacturers.” That’s just a flavor of what Mark Herring will do as Virginia’s next Attorney General. Needless to say, it will be a HUGE breath of fresh air after the divisive, corrosive, far-right-wing ideologically-driven tenure of Ken Cuccinelli.
Finally, it’s important to stress to anyone who might be skeptical about these promises that it’s not just talk. In fact, Mark Herring has been fighting for these issues in the Virginia General Assembly for years now, knows the issues inside out, and understands how to turn ideas into legislation.
All of that makes Mark Herring superbly qualified not just to be Virginia’s next AG, but to be a great AG. I’m very much looking forward to it, as are the 100+ Virginia women leaders/current and former elected officials from all across the state who are endorsing Mark Herring’s campaign.
If you have any doubt about Mark Herring’s commitment to women’s equal opportunity, right to make their own healthcare decisions, and security for them and their families, you don’t have to take his word for it; just ask Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton), Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), former Sen. Patsy Ticer (D-Alexandria), Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax), Arlington County Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy, former Del. Katherine Waddell (R-Richmond/Chesterfield), and the many others who have signed on to support Mark Herring’s candidacy.