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Jason Miyares plans to take Virginia in a different direction as Attorney General

Posted at 3:12 PM, Jan 14, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- When he takes office, new Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares plans to take Virginia in a different direction.

The 45-year-old Republican attorney will be Virginia's first Republican Attorney General since Ken Cuccinelli was elected in 2009.

One of Miyares' first orders of business will have Virginia will join other Republican-led states and business groups in challenging the Biden administration's vaccine mandates.

“While we believe that the vaccine is a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19, we strongly believe that the Federal government cannot impose its will and restrict the freedoms of Americans and that Virginia is at its best when her people are allowed to make the best decisions for their families or businesses," he said in a joint statement with newly-elected Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Virginia Election Attorney General
Jason Miyares addresses the Virginia FREE Leadership Luncheon in McLean, Va on Sept. 1, 2021.

He has also promised investigations into Virginia's parole board to prevent incidents similar to some that happened during the Northam administration.

"It's unconscionable that you had some victims that found out their loved one's killer has been released by this parole board by sometimes just hearing about it on the nightly news," Miyares said.

Another priority for Miyares will be to step in and take over investigations when he believes "social justice Commonwealth's attorneys" fail to do their jobs.

As it stands now, the Attorney General can investigate a local case if that city or county's Commonwealth's Attorney requests help from the state. Miyares said he would seek to change the law to allow his office to intervene without that request from the Commonwealth's Attorney.

"A bill that would say if the chief law enforcement officer in a jurisdiction, either the chief of police or the sheriff, makes a request because a Commonwealth Attorney is not doing their job, then I'm going to do their job for them," he said.

When asked about whether that ran counter to the Republican Party's stance against government intervention, Miyares said it did not.

"I view it just as a backup plan for public safety," he said.

Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Steve Descano, who Miyares has mentioned being an impetus behind the idea, has traded barbs over social media with the Attorney General.

The on-going back and forth between Democrats and Republicans might lead some to wonder how Miyares views his role in representing all Virginians.

"On January 15, I'm going to swear an oath of allegiance, and it's not going to be any political party. It's not going to be the Governor-elect Youngkin, who is a good friend, but it's gonna be the people of Virginia," he said. "I'm going to follow the law, even if sometimes I maybe disagree with the law, but I'm going to try to follow what the law is."

In terms of public safety and policing, Miyares said Virginia was experiencing a "public safety crisis."

"There were some [police reforms] that I supported [as a lawmaker]. But there are also some reforms that maybe were well intentioned but have had the opposite impact," he said. "I think on those areas that put violent criminals back on our streets, maybe sooner, we should reform those changes or repeal them. But I'm going to absolutely look to empower our public safety officers to keep our streets safe."

When to comes to transgender student rights in school and gay rights, Miyares said he was a passionate believer in individual dignity.

"Listen, I said I'm gonna call balls and strikes. So when bills pass out of the General Assembly, as long as it's not a violation of any current US Constitution, the Virginia constitution or federal civil rights law, I'm gonna, I'm gonna defend it," he said. "At the end of the day, I have a passion and believe everybody deserves to be treated equally in the law."

Miyares said he looked forward to Inauguration Day.

"I think that's going to be special seeing a lot of people that helped me get to where I am and connect with them and have a moment of reflection with my family," he said. "But then we're going to work and I'm looking forward to it."