A Republican candidate for Virginia attorney general wants to give back to the country that his mother escaped to from communist Cuba.
Jason Miyares says that he is an example of Ronald Reagan’s “Shining City Upon a Hill”, what that means according to him is that America serves as a beacon of hope. That was certainly true for Miyares’ family, particularly his mother who fled to the United States from her native Cuba in 1965 which had come under the reign of Fidel Castro.
“My mother escaped Communist Cuba when she was only 19 years old, legally immigrated to the United States homeless and without a penny to her name. While in Cuba, her brother, my uncle, suffered the humiliation of a mock execution for being an anti-communist and she saw her house and every other personal artifact become the property of the Cuban Government,” said Miyares of his mother’s experience.
Growing up in Virginia Beach, Miyares’ mother instilled in him and his two brothers a love of freedom and democracy. Because of that, the Republican candidate for state attorney general feels lucky to be an American and expresses a deep reverence for the Bill of Rights and the concept of equal protection under the law. Miyares’ says his desire to become a public servant, starting out as an assistant Commonwealth attorney in Virginia Beach, comes from being the child of an immigrant and wanting to give back to the country that gave his family a second chance.
Since those days the husband and father of three daughters has created a resume for himself that includes having won the seat in the House of Delegate for the 82nd District back in 2015. In that instance, Miyares became the first Cuban-American to hold a seat in the House of Delegates. That election was special to him because that was the election where his mother, after 50 years in the country, was able to vote her own son into the office which he refers to as an “American Miracle”.
“Professionally, being able to represent Virginia Beach in the Virginia House of Delegates and be a voice for Cuban Virginians has been a great honor,” says Miyares. “If I’m elected, I would be the first elected attorney general to be the son of an immigrant, so if your family came to this country seeking hope and opportunity, there is a good chance that your family is like my family, and it would be the biggest honor of my life to be your attorney general.”
In his time as delegate, Miyares served on the General Laws, Court of Justice, and Transportation committees and earning the recognition as a “champion of free enterprise” by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce for opposing higher taxes and regulations that would make it harder for small business owners to expand and thrive.
It’s an area that Miyares shares with his opponent, the current Attorney General Mark R. Herring, who also champions small businesses having himself been a small business owner and served as an attorney for the business and professional communities in Northern Virginia. Herring’s focus has been fighting against scams and businesses that try to take advantage of taxpayers in the Commonwealth.
Herring also set up the state’s first Worker Protection Unit which focuses on investigating, stopping, and prosecuting individuals and businesses who unlawfully engage in worker exploitation as well as educating Virginia workers on their rights.
Should Miyares be elected to the office of attorney general he has vowed to investigate the Virginia Parole Board which in his words has allowed various criminals out early with decades on their sentence without notifying the victims and has seen no accountability for it.
The Virginia Parole Board has seen its share of controversy, especially in more recent times. In March 2021 CBS 6 News in Richmond obtained an internal email detailing the deliberations of the parole board. One email exchange between board chair Adrianne Bennett and employee Laura Hall, Hall had been going through a report of everyone in the Commonwealth who was under parole supervision. In the email Bennett said to Hall that she would release anyone that Hall said to release, Hall responded that she felt “drunk with power” to which Bennett replied back to “wave that wand of power, and let’s cut them loose.”
Miyares condemns the parole board laying blame at the feet of a “far-left liberal monopoly” in Richmond that in his words has pushed criminal first/victim last legislation which has led to a 20-year high murder rate in the state. Miyares also opposed the Defund the Police movement when he was a delegate, Miyares says as the Attorney General is the state’s top cop, they should support the police.
“In order to go to work every day, you and I might put on a coat and tie. But police officers put on a bulletproof vest just to go to work. Our law enforcement risks their lives every single day to protect us and make our communities safer,” said Miyares.
On the other hand, Miyares’ opponent Mark Herring’s focus is on issues such as child exploitation, gun violence, and the opioid crisis. Herring also seeks to improve community relations with local law enforcement agencies with additional training skills on implicit bias, helping departments recruit more diverse officers, and encouraging more positive interactions with police, especially with younger generations.
Miyares, along with his opponent Herring are on the ballot in this year’s race for attorney general.