These tragedies, however, have become all too common in our society in recent years. We in Virginia were instantly reminded on Friday of the agony and sorrow we felt on April 16, 2007, the tragedy at Virginia Tech.
President Obama, in his speech to the nation last night, focused our attention on the difficult questions we now confront as a country: can we honestly say we are doing enough to keep our children safe from harm?
As we gather together with family and our loved ones during the holidays, and in the days and weeks that follow, we will no doubt reflect on this and other questions. We will debate policy as it relates to firearms and to mental health, and we will take a hard look at our society and our culture.
There will be disagreements about the path forward, but there can be no doubt: this is a time for action. Surely we can all agree that these tragedies must end and we can't tolerate this anymore.
"It is deeply disturbing that Virginia's Attorney General can act outside the scope of his legal authority, threaten and bully a Board he is charged to represent and successfully intimidate them into reversing a policy decision that the Attorney General personally disagrees with.
This episode only underscores the need for an Attorney General who will take the politics out of the office and apply laws evenly and fairly."
"I am grateful for the support and confidence of a growing number of Democratic leaders across the Commonwealth," Herring stated. "Every day, as I travel our state, Virginians are ready for fundamental change in the office of Attorney General and they are confident that I am the right candidate to carry our party's banner in 2013 and give us the opportunity to win this office for the first time in twenty four years."
The list of those endorsing Herring includes Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman, Senator Donald McEachin of Henrico County, Minority Leader of the House of Delegates, Delegate David Toscano of Charlottesville, and House of Delegates Minority Whip, Delegate Charniele Herring of Alexandria, as well as mayors, sheriffs and other local elected officials from throughout the state.
"I have fought alongside Mark Herring against the socially divisive agenda of Ken Cuccinelli and his allies in the General Assembly," stated Senator McEachin. "In 2013, I believe Virginia Democrats must nominate a candidate for Attorney General who is both a champion for the values we share and a proven winner in tough elections. That candidate is Mark Herring. I am proud to support him and I look forward to campaigning with him in 2013."
"Virginia families deserve an Attorney General who will not only be a strong advocate for their best interests, but one who is also a good lawyer. As a fellow legislator, and a fellow lawyer, I know that Mark Herring will apply the law evenly and fairly and will never let partisan politics impact his legal judgment. That is why I endorse his candidacy for Attorney General," Delegate Toscano stated.
"Mark Herring understands that Virginia women are capable of making their own healthcare decisions without government interference," added Delegate Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria). "Our current Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has sought to hold women's healthcare hostage, and the Republicans lining up to take his place look to do the same. We cannot afford another Attorney General like Ken Cuccinelli, and I know Virginia women will have an ally in Mark Herring."
Those endorsing State Senator Mark Herring for Attorney General include:
Hon. Mayme Bacote, Member, House of Delegates (Hampton)
Hon. Lamont Bagby, School Board Member (Henrico)
Hon. George Barker, Member, Virginia Senate (Fairfax)
Ollie Bates, Former Chair, Virginia Beach Democratic Committee (Virginia Beach)
Hon. Anton Bell, Hampton Commonwealth Attorney (Hampton)
Steve Bunn, Secretary, Democratic Party of Virginia (Fairfax)
Hon. Kelly Burk, Member, Leesburg Town Council (Loudoun)
Hon. Dave Butler, Member, Leesburg Town Council (Loudoun)
Hon. Evan Clark, Member, Winchester City Council (Winchester)
Hon. Chuck Colgan, Member, Virginia Senate (Prince William)
Hon. Michael Doucette, Lynchburg Commonwealth Attorney (Lynchburg)
Abbi Easter, Chair, 7th Congressional District Democratic Committee (Chesterfield)
Hon. Adam Ebbin, Member, Virginia Senate (Alexandria)
Hon. John Edwards, Member, Virginia Senate (Roanoke City)
Hon. Paul Ferguson, Clerk of Court (Arlington)
Hon. Eileen Filler-Corn, Member, House of Delegates (Fairfax)
Hon. Mike Fleenor, Pulaski Commonwealth Attorney, Chair, Pulaski County Democratic Committee (Pulaski)
Hon. John Foust, Member, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (Fairfax)
Hon. Paul Fraim, Mayor, City of Norfolk (Norfolk)
Hon. Michael Gillette, Mayor, City of Lynchburg (Lynchburg)
Hon. Penelope Gross, Member, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (Fairfax)
Gracie Hensley, Chair, Norton City Democratic Committee (Norton)
Hon. Charniele Herring, Member, House of Delegates (Alexandria)
Hon. John Hill, Member, Winchester City Council (Winchester)
Rose Mary Holbrook, Vice Chair, Wise County Democratic Committee (Wise)
Hon. Edd Houck, Former Member, Virginia Senate (Spotsylvania)
Hon. Janet Howell, Member, Virginia Senate (Fairfax)
Hon. Algie Howell, Member, House of Delegates (Norfolk)
Charlie Jackson, Chair, 10th Congressional District Democratic Committee (Loudoun)
Hon. John Jenkins, Member, Prince William County Board of Supervisors (Prince William)
Hon. Joe Johnson, Member, House of Delegates (Abingdon)
Herbert Jones, Chair, New Kent County Democratic Committee (New Kent)
Hon. Greg Kallen, Former Norton City/Wise County Commonwealth Attorney (Norton/Wise)
Hon. Mamie Locke, Member, Virginia Senate (Hampton)
Hon. Louise Lucas, Member, Virginia Senate (Portsmouth)
Hon. Fred Luntsford, Member, Wise County Board of Supervisors (Wise)
Evan Macbeth, Chair, Loudoun County Democratic Committee (Loudoun)
Hon. Anthony Martin, Nelson County Commonwealth Attorney (Nelson)
Bob Martin, Vice Chair, Veterans and Military Families Caucus, Democratic Party of Virginia (Hampton)
Hon. Marty Martinez, Member, Leesburg Town Council (Loudoun)
Suzette Matthews, Former Chair, 1st Congressional District Democratic Committee, Democratic Party of Virginia (Fauquier)
Hon. Robert McCabe, Sheriff (Norfolk)
Hon. Donald McEachin, Member, Virginia Senate (Henrico)
Hon. Steve McGraw, Clerk of Court (Roanoke Co.)
Hon. Jeff McKay, Member, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (Fairfax)
Hon. Brent McKenzie, School Board Member (Virginia Beach)
Hon. Delores McQuinn, Member, House of Delegates (Richmond)
Hon. John Miller, Member, Virginia Senate (Newport News)
Hon. John Montgomery, School Board Member (Henrico)
Hon. Gabriel Morgan, Sheriff (Newport News)
Evelyn Morris-Harris, Chair, Democratic Black Caucus of Virginia, Democratic Party of Virginia (Chesterfield)
Hon. Ross Mugler, Commissioner of the Revenue (Hampton)
Hon. Martha Mugler, School Board Member (Hampton)
Hon. Douglas Mullins, Commissioner of the Revenue (Wise)
Hon. Tyrone Nelson, Member, Henrico County Board of Supervisors (Henrico)
Hon. Ralph Northam, Member, Virginia Senate (Norfolk)
Hon. Sheila Olem, Member, Herndon Town Council (Herndon)
Hon. John Peace, Former Member, Wise County Board of Supervisors (Wise)
Hon. Ken Plum, Member, House of Delegates (Fairfax)
Sharon Ponton, Chair, Nelson County Democratic Committee (Nelson)
Hon. Earnie Porta, Mayor, Town of Occoquan (Prince William)
Hon. Frank Principi, Member, Prince William County Board of Supervisors (Prince William)
Hon. Phillip Puckett, Member, Virginia Senate (Russell)
Rachel Rifkind, Chair, Women's Caucus, Democratic Party of Virginia (Fairfax)
Hon. B.J. Roberts, Sheriff (Hampton)
Hon. Anthony Roper, Sheriff (Clarke)
Hon. George Schaefer, Clerk of Court (Norfolk)
Hon. Richard Shelton, Treasurer (Montgomery)
Hon. Ronnie Short, Member, Wise County Board of Supervisors (Wise)
Hon. Mark Sickles, Member, House of Delegates (Fairfax)
Noah Simon, Candidate for School Board (Arlington)
Hon. Frank Thornton, Member, Henrico County Board of Supervisors (Henrico)
Hon. Patsy Ticer, Former Member, Virginia Senate (Alexandria)
Hon. Luke Torian, Member, House of Delegates (Prince William)
Hon. David Toscano, Member, House of Delegates (Charlottesville)
Hon. Kristen Umstattd, Mayor, Town of Leesburg (Loudoun)
Hon. George Wallace, Vice Mayor, City of Hampton (Hampton)
Hon. Molly Ward, Mayor, City of Hampton (Hampton)
Hon. Bill Watson, Sheriff (Portsmouth)
Hon. Vivian Watts, Member, House of Delegates (Fairfax)
Hon. Mary Margaret Whipple, Former Member, Virginia Senate (Arlington)
Hon. Robert Williams, Treasurer (Hampton)
"This episode with the Board of Health is just the latest example of Attorney General Cuccinelli substituting his own personal political views in place of sound legal judgment. Attorney General Cuccinelli has moved outside the scope of his legal authority in his attempt to substitute his extreme political ideology for the will of the Board, threatening women's access to reproductive healthcare in the process.
I join with countless physicians across Virginia in urging the Board of Health to reject the Attorney General's bullying and intimidation."
The response has been overwhelmingly positive and I couldn't be more grateful for the support.
We know that Virginians deserve much more in an Attorney General than Ken Cuccinelli. He has abused the powers of his office and twisted the law to advance his personal political agenda, and the results have been disastrous for Virginia.
As I talk to Virginians across our Commonwealth, the message is clear: We need fundamental change in the office of Attorney General.
I look forward to campaigning in every corner of the Commonwealth and introducing Virginia to a new vision for the office of Attorney General, and I hope you'll join me in this effort.
Visit my website my new website www.MarkHerringforAG.com and, if you're able, make a contribution and sign up for my email updates.
Also, follow me on Twitter at @SenMarkHerring
With only 102 days left until this November's critical election, I'll be focused on doing everything I can to reelect President Obama, send Governor Tim Kaine to the United States Senate, and elect more Virginia Democrats to Congress.
I look forward to campaigning shoulder to shoulder with you and, once again, thank you for your support.
"Ken Cuccinelli shouldn't be holding women's healthcare hostage. This is politics, not sound legal analysis, and he's wrong. It's fine if Cuccinelli wants to run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, but he shouldn't drag women's access to healthcare through the mud along the way."
"This is just the latest example of the threat that an Attorney General on an ideological mission poses to women's health in the Commonwealth of Virginia. All Virginians should be alarmed that our chief legal officer is putting his politics ahead of the law to undermine the statutory authority of a Board that has made a policy decision simply because he personally disagrees with it."
"Virginia needs an Attorney General whose focus is enforcing the law evenly and fairly instead of one who bullies colleges and universities, state boards and commissions and anyone else with whom he disagrees. We need to get politics out of the Attorney General's Office."
"The Board of Supervisors made the right decision. Extending Metro to Dulles Airport and into Loudoun County is an investment in our future and will help ensure our region's continued economic growth and prosperity. While this is an historic moment, there is more work still to be done.
The state is only contributing about 5% of the total project cost for Phase 2, and that is unacceptable. I will continue my efforts to secure additional state funds for Phase 2 and look for other ways to keep tolls from skyrocketing on the Dulles Toll Road.
Additionally, the time for the federal government to step up is long overdue. I will work with our federal delegation to obtain their participation in this project that will connect our region's international airport to our nation's capital."
"The Affordable Care Act was designed to expand access to quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans. Millions of Americans will no longer need to live in fear that insurance companies will deny them coverage if they have a pre-existing condition. Young people can stay on their parent's insurance plans until age 26 and seniors will receive free preventative healthcare benefits.
I am disappointed but not surprised by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's over-the-top response claiming that this is a dark day for America. He has wasted Virginia resources advancing a political agenda that the Chief Justice John Roberts and the Supreme Court has rejected. For Ken it is a dark day, but for Virginia families that can now rest easy knowing that the healthcare coverage they so desperately need won't be taken away, it is a good day indeed.
While this isn't a perfect plan, I applaud Chief Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court for affirming the constitutionality of President Obama's signature legislative achievement: healthcare reform. As a member of Virginia's Health Reform Initiative, and a member of the Senate Commerce and Labor Subcommittee on Health Exchanges, I look forward to working with the Governor, the Attorney General and my colleagues in the General Assembly to implement this law in the best possible way so that our citizens will receive the maximum benefit of healthcare reform."
I have worked with Delegate David Toscano (Charlottesville) to craft a letter from current members of the Virginia General Assembly who are also graduates of the University of Virginia calling on the Board of Visitors to reconsider their decision and reinstate President Sullivan.
Additionally, I believe that Rector Dragas should immediately submit her resignation to the Governor. Regardless of whether she had good reason to pursue the actions she did-which seems increasingly unlikely- the only way for the University to move forward and recover from the disastrous way this was handled would be for her to step aside.
The process by which President Sullivan was forced to resign was fundamentally flawed, dramatically at odds with the principles of the flagship University in the Commonwealth, and inconsistent with a transparent decision-making process required of a public University. I am encouraged by the recent announcement that the Board of Visitors has called a special meeting on Tuesday, and I am hopeful the Board will take swift action to reverse their prior decision.
"The MWAA Board's decision removes the major stated obstacle for members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to commit to the project. It is time for the Board to vote to opt-in to Phase 2 and bring Metro to Loudoun. The decision also frees up the already promised $150 million contribution from the Commonwealth to the project. I call on Governor McDonnell to see that these state funds are released in a timely fashion and without further condition. I will continue my effort to secure additional state funding for Phase 2 in order to bring down projected toll increases and lessen the burden on the Toll Road users."