Attorney General Mark Herring reflects on eight years in office; incoming AG Miyares looks ahead

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 7:12 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Mark Herring is about to leave office after eight years as Virginia’s Attorney General.

And despite losing the November election to Republican Jason Miyares, Herring says he is filled with a sense of inner peace and pride, because of the work he and his team have been able to accomplish.

“And today, we are taking another important step to turn the page on the past,” Herring said during a news conference Thursday morning, as he announced one of his final acts as Attorney General.

With members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and leaders of the Virginia State Conference NAACP standing beside him, Herring said he has overruled 58 advisory opinions from previous Attorneys General.

The opinions supported racial segregation and other discriminatory laws no longer on the books in Virginia, but the Commonwealth and the Attorney General’s office had never renounced them until now.

Herring described the review of opinions from 1905 to 1967 as a massive undertaking, but one he wanted to complete before leaving office.

“As I saw that my term was coming to an end, I knew it was really important for the Commonwealth, for us to get this across the finish line,” Herring said during the news conference.

Later in an interview, Herring said he wanted to finish strong, and complete a two-term, eight-year run he argues has been historic.

“We won a landmark case for marriage equality, went to the Supreme Court twice to protect people’s health care from being taken away from them, eliminated the backlog of untested rape kits, took on the opioid epidemic that has ravaged so many families across the Commonwealth and across the country,” Herring said.

“For a lot of public officials, accomplishing one or two of those would be career highlights and we’ve got an amazing list of accomplishments.”

The memories that will stick with him, Herring said, are the conversations with people whose lives were improved by the policies his office pursued.

“Those conversations stay with you and I’ll never forget them,” Herring said.

So what’s next? Herring said he hopes to catch his breath and consider his options.

Asked if that includes another run for public office, Herring told us, “You never know what the future holds.”

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