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Roanoke Free Press
Saturday, May 25, 2013

Candidate Sen. Mark Herring visits Roanoke and the Harrison Museum

Senator Mark Herring at Meet and Greet at Thelma's Chicken & Waffles Saturday.

Senator Mark Herring at Meet and Greet at Thelma’s Chicken & Waffles Saturday.

The June Democratic primary is two weeks away and candidates are making their last stops in Southside this week. State Senator Mark Herring who is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general was at a Meet and Greet at Thelma’s Chicken & Waffles Saturday.

Senator John Edwards took Herring to the Harrison Museum of African American Culture in Center in the Square. Board Chair Charles Price explained each exhibit and Herring stopped to listen to the audio clips and read the historical placards.

Later he said he was impressed and very moved by the exhibits. Roanoke was lucky to have the most historical African American museum in the state he said.

At Thelma’s he met with 30 supporters telling them that after obtaining his law degree he started his political career as a Loudoun County Supervisor and was elected to the State Senate in 2006. In addition to his law degree, he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Virginia in economics and foreign affairs.

He is the Principal of the law firm Herring & Turner, P.C., working in the areas of business and corporate matters, land use and zoning, civil litigation, and municipal law.

Senator John Edward, Senator Mark Herring and Charles Price at the Harrison Museum.

Senator John Edward, Senator Mark Herring and Charles Price at the Harrison Museum.

Herring said as Senator he fought against the Republican’s social agenda. He fought against oppressive women’s bills, fought for LGBT rights and against attacks on voting rights.

He helped with legislation to establish a partnership healthcare exchange that will meet Virginia’s healthcare needs as the Affordable Healthcare Act takes effect. He co-sponsored legislation for reforms that will lead to acceptance of Medicaid expansion.

It matters who becomes governor explained Herring later. The next governor will reject or accept the federal Medicaid expansion federal funds. The next governor can approve the reforms or reject the reforms as insufficient.

As governor, Terry McAuliffe said he will accept the Medicaid expansion but the fear is that if Ken Cuccinelli wins the governorship he will reject the reforms as insufficient no matter the evidence to the contrary.

“We can thank Cuccinelli for one thing,” said Herring. “People now know how important the attorney general is … he has abused the power of the office.”

Herring said that Cuccinelli is outside the mainstream of Virginia voters with his opposition to science-based UVA climate change research “which is downright un-American.” He criticized Cuccinelli’s opposition to sexual orientation as being discriminatory for acceptance into state colleges. He condemned Cuccinelli’s intimidation of the Virginia Board of Health when structuring the rules for women’s clinics that perform abortions.

Senator Herring at the Harrison Museum.

Senator Herring at the Harrison Museum.

Herring also chided Cuccinelli for saying that the Freedom of Information Act doesn’t apply to him and his office. The Republican nominee Senator Mark Obenshain would be more of the same said Herring.

“He is like a clone of Ken Cuccinelli. He’s in sync with his views.”

That kind of politics doesn’t belong in the office of the attorney general he said.  “I will put the law first – I will fight against extreme legislation in Richmond that would restrict women’s access to contraceptives – I’m pro-choice and I will always protect a woman’s right to choose.”

Herring said he would work to implement universal background checks on gun purchases, work to implement the Affordable HealthCare Act and protect voting rights.  “We need an attorney general who will make it easier to vote not harder.”

All public officials should set the highest ethical standards of conduct especially the attorney general. Receiving lavish gifts and not reporting it is wrong he said. A direct reference in the unreported gifts from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. Cuccinelli bought stock in the company and the only stock he had an investment in. Cuccinelli has since amended his reports and sold his stock.

Senator Herring at Thelma's Chicken & Waffles Meet and Greet.

Senator Herring at Thelma’s Chicken & Waffles Meet and Greet.

If Herring is nominated he will go against tea party endorsed Republican nominee Senator Mark Obenshain. Herring said Obenshain voted for guns in bars and is opposed to background checks at gun shows. Herring took the opportunity to list his perspective opponent’s misguided legislation against women’s rights.

He fought for the ultrasound bill requirement before a woman has an abortion. He introduced personhood legislation that would restrict forms of contraception like the morning after pill. He even introduced legislation that would have required women to report when they have miscarriages for the sake of being investigated to confirm it wasn’t self-induced abortion said Herring.

“The stakes couldn’t be higher,” he said.

Herring will face Justin Fairfax who served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia in the June 11 primary. Fairfax and Aneesh Chopra who is vying for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor will be in Roanoke Friday.

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