7 Questions for Virginia's Attorney General Candidates

From: John Adams <john@johnadamsforva.com>
Date: Mon, Jul 17, 2017 at 1:28 PM
Subject: 7 Questions for Virginia's Attorney General Candidates

Friend -
In last week's Style Weekly, Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, executive director of the Virginia ACLU, proposed seven questions that Virginia voters should consider when deciding which attorney general candidate they would support. When I saw these questions I felt compelled to answer, as she is correct that these are important questions that voters in Richmond and across Virginia should have answered. Below are my thoughts on each question posed. 
1. How would the candidates represent your interests as consumer counsel?
Consumer protection is one of the most critical functions of the Attorney General.  When I am Attorney General, Virginia will be a very inhospitable place for businesses or individuals that use deceptive or unfair practices to prey on our citizens.   As a federal prosecutor, I prosecuted fraudsters who lied to people to steal their money and I look forward to ensuring that Virginia is a safe place to conduct business.  My experience also teaches me that many of our most vulnerable citizens – the elderly, new immigrants, and the less fortunate – are often the most at risk and deserve vigilant protection.  And as a veteran, and the son and brother of veterans, I will stand a vigilant watch to protect our service members from those who would take advantage of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who are often deployed and moving from station to station. Finally, Virginians deserve committed and objective legal representation as energy consumers.   Virginia must have reliable, clean, and affordable energy.   They will have no stronger advocate than me as Attorney General.  

2. How do the attorney general candidates see their role in ending discrimination in Virginia?
I believe in merit.  Whether it was from my time right after VMI as a Naval Officer all the way through my most recent experience as a partner at a law firm, I have built and lead teams of diverse individuals to work together to achieve results.  As Attorney General, the only criterion I will use in hiring for the office is who is best suited to represent the Commonwealth of Virginia.  And as Virginia’s lawyer, I will apply the laws of Virginia firmly, but fairly and equitably, across the board.  The power of the state must never be allowed to discriminate.

3. What are the candidates’ positions on criminal-justice reform?
I am passionate about criminal justice reform, and it is an issue I have focused on my entire campaign.  To be sure, there are those among us who would do us harm.  And those individuals should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  There are also individuals who make non-violent mistakes, particularly at a young age, where the decision to saddle them with a felony or otherwise place them in the criminal justice system may not be the best choice for a host of reasons.  In addition, we need to strengthen reentry programs, so that those who have served time stand a chance to rejoin society in a meaningful way.  Things such as the handling of driving privileges and the restoration of civil rights need to be handled in a way that balances public safety and our desire to have people return to full citizenship and move ahead in a productive way.  My views on criminal justice reform are informed by many things, including economic, moral, and public safety concerns.

4. How would the candidates exercise their ethical responsibility to do justice regarding prosecutorial misconduct and biases in the criminal justice system?
This is an area that requires calmness, rational discussion, and civility – something sorely lacking in today’s political debate (remember, I have never run for office before).  My view, based on my experience, is that the overwhelming majority of our law enforcement officers are truly exceptional public servants who put their lives on the line for strangers every day in incredibly stressful situations.  They are to be honored.  Of course, there are situations where good people make bad decisions, and rarer situations where bad people are given the public trust and do bad things.  In those situations, dispassionate and firm application of the law to the true set of the facts is the answer – holding people accountable for their actions. At the end of the day, communication and presence are always key.  Our police officers should be present in minority communities, developing long-term trust and relationships.  It is a two-way street, and we need to get about making more progress in this area sooner rather than later.  Blaming the other side does not move us forward.   

5. Will the candidates be activists or strict constructionists when interpreting the law?
I will not be an activist.  Indeed, as a person who has never run for office before, I am running for attorney general to get the politics out of the office. Our current attorney general, Mark Herring, is an activist attorney general who only defends positions he agrees with, and has even turned on his client, the Commonwealth of Virginia, over the last four years. That’s not what a lawyer does. It’s a lawyer’s duty to represent their client – in this case, the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Additionally, I will provide counsel to the General Assembly to help them pass laws that are Constitutional in the first place.  My advice to members of the General Assembly, and other Virginia officials, will be the same whether they are Republicans or Democrats – it will be accurate, objective, and timely.  If you want fair and objective application of Virginia’s laws, I am your candidate.

6. Would the candidates be good stewards of your tax dollars?
As uncovered and reported by the Associated Press, Herring has utilized funds from an asset forfeiture case to give certain staff in his office back door pay raises.  This is inappropriate.  Funds seized in asset forfeiture proceedings are not supposed to be used for that purpose.  In addition, by refusing to defend certain Virginia laws, he required the state to hire outside counsel to defend a law he politically didn’t agree with – costing tax payers $800,000.  Your tax dollars have already paid for a law firm. I will ensure we don’t waste money on outside lawyers.  I know how hard you work for your money.  You deserve to not have it wasted by politicians.

7. Will a candidate’s management practices as attorney general reflect a commitment to full equality of opportunity at all levels?
As I said in an earlier question, I will hire the most talented and capable people to work in the attorney general’s office and those are the only standards I will apply. Conversely, according to Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly, last year Herring’s office was sued for violating the Equal Pay Act by a female assistant attorney general who was being paid less than others in her position. Herring's office kept her on through two big trials and then fired her right after. Herring settled the lawsuit for almost $200,000.  As I said before, I will hire the very best people to represent Virginia. And I will pay them fairly, regardless of whether they are men or women.
      - John Adams


Posted July 10, 2017
Focuses on Attorney General’s role in coordinating efforts around prevention and education, treatment, and enforcement

RICHMOND – During a press conference at the Chesterfield County Jail, John Adams, the Republican nominee for attorney general, today announced his statewide policy proposal to combat Virginia’s substance abuse and overdose crisis, including the heroin and opioid epidemic, which is dramatically impacting communities across the Commonwealth. The comprehensive plan focuses on the attorney general’s ability to coordinate efforts in three main areas: prevention and education; treatment; and, enforcement.
Speaking about his proposal, Adams said, “The heroin and opioid epidemic keeps getting worse every year, not better. Since 2013, fatal opioid overdoses have increased 66%.  In the last year alone, we have lost over 1,400 lives to drug overdoses in Virginia, outpacing deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents and gun-related incidents.  It’s an issue you cannot go anywhere in Virginia without hearing about. It’s affecting Virginia’s mothers and fathers, children and friends. What has become very clear to me over the last year is that there is a need for bold action at the state level to combat the substance abuse and overdose crisis in Virginia.”
Adams continued, “The time for talk is over. We need an attorney general who will bring real action to help curb this crisis. That’s why, right after I began campaigning, I assembled a substance abuse working group of law enforcement officials, attorneys in the field, and state and nonprofit service providers to help advise on what is needed and how the attorney general can help. As a former federal prosecutor, I have seen first hand the impact of drugs on our communities. And, I have seen the amazing work of our law enforcement, health care providers, volunteers, and more, to help people at their lowest points, sacrifice to save lives, and devote countless hours to helping others get back on their feet. They need our support.”
Adams concluded, “The attorney general’s office has the ability to be a leader on this issue and bring attention, resources, and coordination statewide to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic. My statewide substance abuse policy focuses on three critical areas in curbing this crisis – prevention and education, treatment, and enforcement. The attorney general needs to do more to leverage state resources and enhance efforts across Virginia. One person alone can not solve this problem, but bringing everybody to the table and coordinating efforts is essential to combating this epidemic.”
Chesterfield County Sheriff Karl Leonard added, “Virginia has not escaped the grip of the opioid and heroin crisis that is plaguing this nation. We need to do more across Virginia to help those with the disease of addiction, especially opioid and heroin addictions. And we need to do it before they end up in jail or dead from an overdose. But for those who do end up in jail we must be preparing them for a sober and productive life after incarceration. Through Chesterfield’s innovative Heroin Addiction Recovery Program (HARP) we are helping inmates address the root causes of their addiction and providing resources to get them on their feet and be productive members of society after they serve their time. It’s an approach that John understands and embraces, and it’s why his leadership as attorney general will be pivotal to helping curb the substance abuse epidemic we are seeing here in Virginia.”
Sarah Melton, Chair of the Board of Directors of OneCare of Southwest Virginia, noted, “One Care of Southwest Virginia shares John Adams' belief that the work and outreach activities of community coalitions are key to addressing the prescription drug and heroin overdose epidemic. The coalitions represented by One Care are committed to working together with the office of the Attorney General and other stakeholders to decrease the social, economic, and health-related factors associated with opioid use disorders through education, planning, policy, data, and advocacy.

Read the full Statewide Substance Abuse and Overdose Crisis Policy Proposal here.
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2017 Virginia Attorney General's Debate - Virginia Beach

Published on Jun 17, 2017

Republican John Adams and Democrat Mark Herring engage in a spirited debate at the oceanfront Sheraton in Virginia Beach at the first general election debate for the Office of Attorney General in Virginia. The debate was hosted by the Young Lawyer's Committee of the Virginia State Bar Association and moderated by Barbara Hamm Lee of WHRO's "Another View."

Poll: 2017 VA State Election - Attorney General 


(R) John Adams vs. (D) Mark Herring

John Adams

Twitter: @JohnAdamsforVA,  https://twitter.com/JohnAdamsforVA
Campaign Contact:  Stacy Whitehouse, stacy@johnadamsforva.com

Poll: 2017 VA State Election - Governor


Poll: 2017 VA State Election - Lt. Governor


(R) Jill Vogel vs. (D) Justin Fairfax

Poll: 2017 VA State Election - Attorney General 


(R) John Adams vs. (D) Mark Herring


2017 VA State Election - Campaign Contributions


Lt. Governor


Attorney General

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article144256424.html?from=groupmessage#storyl

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam (Candidate for VA Governor) Endorses Driver's Licenses For Illegal Immigrants