So, with the following announcement (which I’d heard rumors about in recent weeks) that Mark Herring will run for reelection as AG, that: a) clears the field for Ralph Northam, all but assuring him of the Democratic gubernatorial nomnination in 2017; b) Mark Herring can continue his excellent work as Attorney General for four more years (I’d hope that Herring’s second term would focus heavily on challenging corporate control of our government by Dominion Power in particular, making Virginia friendly to clean energy, and protecting the environment), assuming of course that he wins the general election; c) it sets Herring up to run for governor in 2021 (which I think will be a better time, potentially, for a Democrat to be governor anyway, as perhaps by then we’ll have made some gains in the General Assembly); and d) the only contested Democratic primary contest in 2017 will likely be for Lt. Governor (I’ve heard Delegates Eileen Filler-Corn and Charniele Herring – also just heard Del. Jennifer McClellan – mentioned as possible candidates, wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a bunch more jump in as well).
With that, here’s Attorney General Herring’s announcement.
“Serving as Attorney General has been the highest honor of my career. I love practicing law, I love public policy, and most of all, I love helping people. This job asks me to do all three every single day.
“Over the last 20 months, our Commonwealth has made historic progress that has changed lives for the better. We have shown an increasingly diverse and dynamic Commonwealth a new vision for this job, how it intersects with Virginians lives, and what can be accomplished when the attorney general prioritizes the law and the people he serves.
“We successfully fought in the courts for marriage equality and made college more affordable for DREAMers. We led the Governor’s task force to help Virginia become a national leader on reducing campus sexual violence. We led 22 states in the fight to successfully defend affordable healthcare from yet another cynical, political attack at the Supreme Court. We corrected erroneous legal advice that threatened to shut down clinics and restrict women’s access to healthcare services.
“We responded on multiple fronts to the growing crises of heroin and prescription drug abuse, putting drug traffickers behind bars and working with Republicans on a strong, bipartisan legislative response to help save lives. We’ve enhanced our efforts to put away predators who try to exploit children online, kept dangerous criminals behind bars, and provided critical training to help law enforcement dismantle gangs, prevent and respond to domestic violence, and to help young people stay on the right side of the law.
“We brought the services of the office into communities across Virginia with our first-ever regional outreach coordinators, and hired the Commonwealth’s first local jail re-entry coordinator to help ex-offenders turn their lives around. When the Commonwealth was on the verge of shutting down innovative ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, and when Sweet Briar College stood on the edge of collapse, we showed that creativity, collaboration, and communication can still solve difficult problems.
“We took on out-of-state special interests that were attacking our Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan and we won. We helped end a decades-long dispute that finally got tens of millions of dollars in natural gas royalties to Southwest Virginia landowners. We have stood up for Virginia consumers by fighting for lower electric bills and utility rates. We have recovered millions of dollars lost to illegal business practices, and are seeking to hold big Wall Street banks accountable for damaging our state pensions. And we are working to restore the public trust by enacting the Office’s first ethics policy and a strict gift ban.
“These milestones would not have been reached without the right team exercising the powers and responsibilities of the Office of Attorney General. That means this hard-won progress is as fragile as the next election.
“Our future progress as a Commonwealth requires an attorney general who is fiercely and fearlessly committed to promoting justice, equality, and opportunity for all Virginians.
“For that reason, I plan to run for re-election as Attorney General.
“Some of the path forward is clear for the Commonwealth, but we’ll face challenges in the years ahead that we can’t yet imagine. I believe Virginians will again entrust this office to someone who is ready to tackle those challenges, who shares their values, and who fights for them every single day.
“They have that champion in Governor Terry McAuliffe, with whom we have worked hand-in-hand on so many of these initiatives. Virginians will find that champion as well in Ralph Northam – and I will work as hard as I can to help elect him governor. Together, we will keep Virginia moving forward.”