• John Adams: It’s Time to Restore the Rule of Law to the Attorney General’s Office

    John Adams, the Republican nominee for Attorney General, delivered this week’s Virginia GOP address:

    Remarks as prepared for delivery:

    “Good morning, it is a great privilege to have the opportunity to speak with you this week. Yesterday was an incredibly special day for me, my family, and my supporters all across the Commonwealth. While we were traveling in Norfolk, and then between campaign events, I was notified that we had secured the republican nomination for Attorney General of Virginia.”

    “It was special for me for a few separate reasons. First, I’m not a politician. I have never sought any public office, but I have spent much of my life in public service. After growing up here in Chesterfield County and graduating from Midlothian High School, I attended The Virginia Military Institute. After graduation, I received my commission as a United States Naval officer. I served first at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and then deployed to the Persian Gulf. My second appointment brought me home to Virginia, where I was on a coastal patrol ship based at Little Creek. From there I deployed to Central and South America, where we conducted counter narcotics operations to try and keep drugs out of the United States.”

    “Following my Naval service, I went to law school at the University of Virginia. After graduation, I moved to Arlington where I clerked for two Federal judges, including associate Justice Clarence Thomas on the United States Supreme Court. I then spent time as an associate White House Council for President George W. Bush.”

    “My wife, Lisa, and I then decided to return home to Central Virginia and raise our growing family here. I began serving as an assistant United States Attorney prosecuting cases from violent crime and drugs, to fraud and public corruption. In 2010, I left public service and joined the law firm of McGuireWoods here in Richmond.”

    “I am happy being in private practice, and Lisa and I are raising our four boys very happily here in Chesterfield County.”

    “So after 43 years without being involved in politics, you may wonder why I jumped into the arena. The answer is simple. I am running for Attorney General because I believe that the citizens of Virginia have the right to govern themselves the way they see fit. When the citizens of Virginia, through their elected representatives, pass laws, they deserve to have those laws defended and enforced by their Attorney General.”

    “But time and time again, our current Attorney General has shown that when he has a different political preference than the laws the people have passed, he is willing to use our Attorney General’s office to pursue his own agenda.”

    “But don’t take my word for it. One of the states largest newspapers has referred to Mark Herring as our ‘sometimes Attorney General.’ That is because he simply picks and chooses what laws he will defend when our Commonwealth is challenged in court.”

    “For example, he recently refused to defend our voter ID law, and the state had to hire a private law firm to defend it, expending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to do so. And the law was upheld in both district and appellate court.”

    “On the Second Amendment, at the urging of groups outside of the Commonwealth, he issued an opinion regarding the reciprocity standards as they relate to Virginia’s concealed carry permit holders. The effect of the opinion was the trigger an obscure provision of state law and to arguably eliminate concealed carry reciprocity. Now look folks, I believe we need to enforce our gun laws to keep them out of the hands of criminals and those are mentally ill. But targeting people who obtained a concealed carry permit, arguably some of the most responsible and law-abiding citizens we have, was done simply to pursue a political agenda. Again, don’t take my word for it. During the next legislative session, even Governor McAuliffe supported overruling Herring’s opinion on the issue and reversed him.”

    “And on an issue fundamental to Virginia’s economic growth, Herring has pursued his own agenda as well. Virginia is a Right to Work state. That is our state law. Employers and businesses rely on what the law says in making decisions to locate or expand into Virginia, among other things. But our Attorney General, Mark Herring, filed a brief in the Supreme Court opposing Right to Work laws in a case that arose in another state and had nothing to do with Virginia.”

    “Finally, the Associated Press recently reported that Herring used funds from an asset forfeiture related to a case against a pharmaceutical company to give pay raises to certain lawyers in his office. I know a lot of lawyers in the Attorney General’s office, and they are hard-working public servants who almost certainly deserve a pay raise. But the dangers of allowing a government agency to use asset forfeiture funds to give raises to employees are well known, which is why regulations exist to prevent exactly this behavior.”

    “These back door pay raises came at a time when other state employees were not getting raises, and our Virginia state troopers were desperately seeking a pay increase to aid them in recruiting new troopers.”

    “When I am your Attorney General, I will restore the office to its proper role as a law firm for the Commonwealth. It will be an office that respects the will of the people, and defends the laws the people pass through their elected representatives. It will be an office that provides fair, consistent, and objective legal advice to all government officials throughout the Commonwealth, regardless of whether they are Democrats or Republicans. It will be an office that stands for true equality in the enforcement of our laws, and a robust defense of the rule of law.”

    “In addition, I will draw on my experience as a federal prosecutor in my relationships throughout federal and state government to tackle our heroin and opioid crisis. This crisis is tearing families apart, and this attorney general will fight to stop the influx of heroin and other drugs. And for those already addicted I will work to improve treatment and rehabilitation options.”

    “With rising violent crime rates in our cities, my office will employ every tool available to combat violent crime, and in particular gang violence. I have prosecuted cases before, and I know how to work with law-enforcement to get the job done efficiently, effectively, and justly.”

    “Ladies and gentlemen I was born and raised here in Virginia. Educated here in Virginia from elementary school through law school. I love the Commonwealth of Virginia with all my heart, and I will work hard every day to defend the sovereignty of the Commonwealth of Virginia, your ability to govern yourself the way you see fit, and to keep our families and communities safe.”

    “It is very humbling to be the nominee of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln and Reagan, the party of freedom, and the party of individual liberty. A party that respects the ability of citizens to govern themselves the way they see fit. I look forward to getting to know all of you across the Commonwealth of Virginia even better in the coming days and weeks. God bless each and everyone of you, and God bless the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

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