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Virginia’s newly sworn in Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares wasted no time implementing the agenda the commonwealth’s voters elected him to carry out, explaining to Fox News that he’s excited to get to work and promises “a lot more good” to come.
“I like to say Virginia is not a red state or a blue state — it’s really just a common-sense state,” Miyares told Fox News in a Tuesday interview about his victory in November. “Voters felt like the far-left monopoly had really gotten off the rails pushing a lot of issues that were way outside where most mainstream Virginians were, and that’s probably the biggest reason that propelled it.”
Within hours of taking office, Miyares announced investigations into two campaign issues that were prominent topics on the campaign trail, the Loudoun County, Virginia, sexual assault controversy and alleged impropriety within the Virginia Parole Board’s release of dangerous criminals.
Miyares, who told Fox News that his campaign was predicated on ending a “criminal first victim last” mentality that exists within the conversation of criminal justice reform, referred to recent actions taken by the Virginia Parole board as one of the “greatest scandals in Virginia political history.”
“You had a bunch of far-left social justice warriors that had gotten control of the parole board and were implementing a victim-last mindset, letting out cop killers, murderers and rapists, some of them with decades on their sentence, out back on the street without notifying families,” Miyares said. “In Virginia, the parole board is required by law to get input from the victims before letting out folks on parole.”
Miyares referenced a case in which Patrick Schooley Jr., who was released from prison in April after receiving three life sentences for the brutal 1979 home invasion, rape and murder of 78-year-old Bessie Rountree. The victim’s family says they were never notified, and Miyares pledged to hold the Virginia State Board accountable for that decision and several others.
The attorney general’s investigation into Loudoun County follows the arrest of a 14-year-old male high school student who identifies as nonbinary and who has been found guilty of sexually assualting a female student in a school bathroom. That student was transferred to another school where he allegedly sexually assaulted another student. The district has been accused of covering up the initial crime which resulted in one of the alleged victim’s parents being arrested at a school board meeting.
“In the Loudoun County school system, the idea that they would have somebody who committed a violent sexual assault against an innocent 14-year-old girl and then transfer that individual to another school where a second alleged assault took place is just tragic,” Miyares said. “The fact that they just decided to essentially not disclose and not report some of this that is alleged, we’re going to get to the bottom of it and understand what happened.
Around the same time the investigations were being announced, newly elected Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin rolled out 11 executive actions, including a ban of critical race theory, removal of mask mandates for children in schools, authorizing Miyares to launch his investigations, and cutting job regulations by 25%.
“We did not want to wait a day,” Miyares said about the incoming administration’s sense of urgency. “We weren’t going to wait until next week to do this. We got sworn in and promptly went up to the third floor of the Capitol to a conference room to sign some executive orders.”
Miyares also didn’t waste any time making personnel moves in the attorney general’s office, which was previously occupied by Democrat Mark Herring, who boasted about turning the office into a progressive powerhouse. Miyares fired and reassigned dozens of employees of the office in a move that he says is “typical” when a new administration takes power.
“My far-left Democratic predecessor had a very different view on how the office should be run,” Miyares said. “He bragged that he turned his office into a progressive powerhouse, and Virginians ultimately saw that and voted for change. So, implicit in that is that our transition team is bringing our own team of very smart, capable individuals and attorneys that are going to help me keep that same promise I made to Virginians. And I don’t think that’s a surprise, and this type of turnover apparently is very common for a new attorney general.”
Shortly after news of the office shakeup broke, prominent Democratic Virginia State Sen. Louise Lucas and others claimed that Miyares had fired the entire Civil Rights Division of the attorney general’s office, which Miyares says is incorrect and “laughable.”
“Mark Twain said that a lie can get halfway around the world before the truth puts its pants on in the morning,” Miyares said. “In a division of 12 attorneys, we said that two are not going to be rehired as part of the new administration and are going to be replaced.”
Miyares, whose mother fled communist Cuba in 1965, says he recognized at a very early age what a special country the United States is by recognizing the reasons his mother fled the Castro regime and ultimately became an American citizen.
“Lincoln called us the last best hope of earth, it’s true,” Miyares explained. “She was desperate to live in a country that recognized her rights didn’t come from a government official. That Bill of Rights, that Constitution that guarantees these liberties give me such great appreciation for them. It shaped so much of my worldview and my unique view of what this country is, that it gave her a second chance, and for that, I’m forever grateful.”
Miyares also spoke to Fox News about another first in Virginia politics, Republican Lieutenant Gov. Winsome Sears being sworn in alongside him as the first black woman to hold statewide office in the commonwealth.
“Winsome is a remarkable story,” Miyares said, detailing her trajectory from immigrating to the United States from Jamaica as a small child to joining the Marine Corps to being elected to statewide office.
“Winsome has become a pretty broad target for some on the far left, which does not like her message of empowerment,” Miyares said. “I think she’s been a fantastic running mate and a fantastic lieutenant governor so far, and we work great as a team.”
When asked about the media’s coverage, or lack thereof, regarding the historical nature of the two campaigns, Miyares called it one of the “great ironies” of election night.
“We had some of the far-left woke social justice warriors saying that it was a racist electorate which by the way just insulted the millions of Virginia voters who had just voted for Joe Biden,” Miyares recalled. “At the same time it was Republicans that nominated and won the most diverse ticket in Virginia history.
As for the goals he hopes to accomplish in his first term as attorney general, Miyares told Fox News that public safety and consumer protection will be major focal points as well as “pushing back on overbroad federal laws.”
“Where we see the federal government overstepping its bounds and impeding on Virginians, we are going to go ahead and challenge that in court,” Miyares said. “That includes regulations as well, it kills jobs. You’ve got all these unelected regulatory bodies out of Washington, D.C., to pass all these regulations, and your congressman or your senator never vote on them, and the only ones who can challenge them are your state attorney general. So that’s why you’re seeing state AGs be more active over the years. So, we’re going to do a lot of good, and we’re excited to get started.”