- By Melanie Oelrich
- Published: October 29th, 2013
The 2013 General Elections are only one week away, and the commonwealth of Virginia is preparing to collect the votes for its next attorney general.
The election on Tuesday, Nov. 5, includes those running for Virginia governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Two contenders are currently running for attorney general – Mark Obenshain (R) and Mark Herring (D).
Obenshain’s life goal is to “have a meaningful impact on preserving and expanding the realm of personal freedom in the life of this nation,” according to his website. He adopted this goal after his father, who was a prominent political figure in the Republican Party, died in a plane crash.
Obenshain was elected to the Senate of Virginia in 2003, and he currently serves on five committees, according to his website. Those committees include Privileges and Elections, Courts of Justice, Commerce and Labor, Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources and Rules.
According to his website, the role of an attorney general is to assist localities in criminal investigations and prosecutions and defend Virginia law when it is challenged, and to enforce consumer protection laws and represent utility consumers before the State Corporation Commission.
The Republican nominee’s first of four priorities, if elected, is to change the way that abuse and neglect of elders is handled.
“First, I want to establish an Elder Abuse Prevention Center in the attorney general’s office to bring together existing expertise and enhance efforts to provide guidance and technical assistance in investigating and prosecuting elder abuse,” he stated on his website.
According to Obenshain’s website, the prevention center will not be the only aspect of the plan.
“Second, I will enhance oversight to help prevent and quickly identify abuse,” he stated on his website. “Third, I will improve training efforts to better equip law enforcement and first responders, friends and family members, care providers, and community volunteers to identify the warning signs of neglect and abuse and know how to respond.”
Obenshain’s website also said that the plan will include involvement with law enforcement.
“Lastly, I will expand partnerships with local law enforcement to help … effectively respond to them, getting abused seniors the care they need,” his website stated.
Additional issues Obenshain will address as his higher priorities include making human trafficking a stand-alone felony offense, ethics reform, transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility.
“For Senator Mark Obenshain, fighting for our rights isn’t just a job — it’s a calling,” his website stated.
“Problem solving, not politics,” is Democrat Mark Herring’s campaign slogan for the 2013 election season.
Herring was elected into the State Senate in 2006 and is still working to bring technology-based economic development to the Northern Virginia region, secure transportation funding for needed overpasses and local road projects, and make both state and local governments more accountable to the Virginia citizen, according to his campaign website.
“I believe that, when we can, we should put aside our differences to move the commonwealth forward,” Herring said on his website.
However, he said, in the face of extremism, it is important to stand firm for Virginia’s values. Herring has strongly opposed efforts to take away a woman’s right to choose, roll back voting rights and institutionalize discrimination in Virginia’s laws.
After graduating with honors from the University of Richmond School of Law, he established a successful law practice in Leesburg, according to his website. He currently works in the areas of business and corporate matters, land use and zoning, civil litigation and municipal law.
Some of the issues that Herring hopes to address, if elected as attorney general, include women’s rights, ethics, cyber security, human equality and public safety.
When it comes to women’s rights, Herring believes that women’s healthcare decisions are personal and should not be interfered with by politicians.
“Virginia government is facing an ethics crisis that requires real leadership and meaningful action from elected officials,” Herring said on his website. “I am committed to returning credibility to the office, accountability to our state government and restoring the public trust.”
Because of the continuous growth of technology, cyber security has become more of a concern across the country, according to Herring’s website.
“As I travel across the Commonwealth, the message is consistent and clear — Virginians are ready for fundamental change in the Office of Attorney General,” Herring said on his website.
“That change starts with having an attorney general who will promote equality, rather than sow division. I am committed to an equality agenda because I believe it’s time we had an attorney general who will protect and defend the civil rights of all Virginians.”