The Future of Virginia Law Rests in Voters’ Hands

The race for attorney general may not be highlighted as much as the Virginia governor’s race; however, this race is just as important as the governor’s race and can make changes for the state of Virginia based on the choice made on Election Day.
Election Day outcomes will show voters’ decisions on who will serve as the commonwealth’s top lawyer, overseeing a public law firm with 400-employees. All of these employees review, interpret and defend laws in Virginia.  
While in the Senate, Mark Obenshain (R) and Mark Herring (D) have had separate views on many topics, including the Affordable Care Act and other hotly contested issues in Virginia.
According to the Washington Post, Obenshain has opposed the new federal health-care law and environmental regulations on coal and storm water, as well as sponsored legislation to strengthen property rights and promote school choice. In his effort to become top lawyer, he has stressed his legislative record related to criminal law, including sponsorship of bills that increased penalties for repeat drug offenders and sexual predators.
“We’ve got to stand up and push back when the federal government steps over the line,” Obenshain said at an October debate. “And I will do that.”
On the other side, Obenshain’s opponent Herring is in support of the Affordable Care Act.
In 2012, when the Affordable Care Act was upheld by the Supreme Court, Herring made the following statement: “While this isn’t a perfect plan, I applaud Chief Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court for affirming the constitutionality of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement: healthcare reform. As a member of Virginia’s Health Reform Initiative, and a member of the Senate Commerce and Labor Subcommittee on Health Exchanges, I look forward to working with the Governor, the Attorney General and my colleagues in the General Assembly to implement this law in the best possible way so that our citizens will receive the maximum benefit of healthcare reform.”
Herring has also been critical of Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, a candidate who is almost Obenshain’s political twin and whose footsteps Obenshain is expected to follow.
“Time and again, [Cuccinelli] has bent and twisted the law and misused and abused the power of the office in order to advance personal ambition and an extreme ideological agenda,” Herring said of Cuccinelli in the October debate. “Senator Obenshain would be a continuation of what we’ve got.”
Gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act aside, here’s a infographic outlining where these two candidates stand on a few other hot issues.
For a full breakdown of Senator Obenshain’s voting and record and stances on issues, check out this page at votesmart.org, a non-partisan educational organization designed to help voters choose candidates smartly. For more information on Senator Herring’s voting and record and stances, check out his page at Vote Smart.
Whatever the issue may be, the race is far from over and the future of Virginia law is in voters’ hands.

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