This morning on WRVA, Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran had some interesting comments I thought were worth highlighting: 1) on an outside investigation into the Parole Board situation; 2) on the abolition of the death penalty and how much Virginia has shifted in the past few years, and certainly since Moran ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2009, when all three Democratic candidates supported capital punishment.
First, Secretary Moran spoke about the Parole Board situation, and whether the situation is “dragging on,” as the host asked him:
“Well, only because we’re just working on the language…it can’t happen until April 7 [which] is the Reconvene Session…there’s no delay…we’ll have an announcement on that shortly…you can expect a budget amendment by the governor to be able to pay for an independent, outside investigator to look at these issues…Within days it will be finalized…it can’t get passed until April 7 anyhow…We want this expeditiously…it will be one of those [timeframes – 60 or 90 days]…We have nothing to hide in the governor’s office…it’s out there, we’ve addressed this numerous times and the sooner we can remove any cloud over this issue, the better, and so we do want it handled in an expeditious fashion.”
So that’s the latest on that situation, which of course is being pushed hard by anti-parole, anti-criminal-justice-reform, right-wing Republicans who seem to believe – for whatever reason(s) – that they have some sort of scandal here. As usual with right-wing Republicans, it’s highly unlikely that what they’ve been saying bears any relationship to the facts, but that never stops them…
Also interesting: Secretary Moran responding to a question about how repeal of the death penalty “wouldn’t have sold in Virginia a couple decades ago” (or even a few years ago, really). To someone like myself, who has been involved in Virginia politics since 2005 and who remembers the 2009 Democratic gubernatorial primary very well, Moran’s response is fascinating and spot-on.
“I’ve lived in Virginia for…about 35 years now…this year in particular there’s been an enormous transformation on any variety of issues, certainly criminal justice and marijuana legalization, gambling…I mean, there’s things that are going through that you know even 10 years ago. I ran for governor in 2009…I lost in the primary, but I mean the issues, to think over the 10 years…how they have changed. I was considered the liberal [in the 2009 primary], and these weren’t the issues that we were talking about…You’re right, all three of us at that time supported the death penalty, for one instance. And it’s been fascinating…it’s been a significant change…And you know, we all go back to the elections which you talk about so much. You know, if you don’t like it, there’s a ballot box to make that change; we’ll have an election in November, so that’s what i tell people who are displeased.”