Jason Miyares

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Jason Miyares
Jason Miyares in November 2021.jpg
48th Attorney General of Virginia
Assumed office
January 15, 2022
GovernorGlenn Youngkin
Preceded byMark Herring
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 82nd district
In office
January 13, 2016 – January 12, 2022
Preceded byBill DeSteph
Succeeded byAnne Ferrell Tata
Personal details
Born
Jason Stuart Miyares

(1976-02-11) February 11, 1976 (age 46)
Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpousePage Atkinson
Children3
EducationJames Madison University (BBA)
College of William and Mary (JD)

Jason Stuart Miyares (born February 11, 1976) is an American attorney and politician serving as the 48th Attorney General of Virginia since January 15, 2022. A Republican, he was elected a member of the Virginia House of Delegates on November 3, 2015, from the 82nd district which encompasses part of Virginia Beach. He was elected Attorney General of Virginia in 2021.

Early life and education[edit]

Miyares was born in Greensboro, North Carolina and attended public schools in Virginia Beach.[1] His mother had fled from Cuba in 1965.[2] Miyares earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from James Madison University and a Juris Doctor from College of William & Mary’s Law School.[1] He was Chairman of the Hampton Roads Young Republicans and a founding member of the Hampton Roads Federalist Society.[3] He later served as an assistant commonwealth's attorney in Virginia Beach.[4][5]

Career[edit]

Miyares worked on George Allen's 2000 Senate campaign.[6] He was later campaign manager and advisor to Republican Scott Rigell in the 2010 and 2012 congressional elections.[5][7] He was later a partner with the consulting firm Madison Strategies.[5] He also worked at the Virginia Beach law firm Hanger Law until his election to the office of Attorney General.

Virginia House of Delegates[edit]

In 2015, Miyares ran for the Virginia House of Delegates' seat being vacated by Bill DeSteph, who ran successfully for the Virginia State Senate. Unopposed in the June 2015 Republican primary, he defeated Democrat Bill Fleming in the November 2015 general election.[8] He was the first Cuban American elected to the Virginia General Assembly.[2] He was reelected in 2017 and 2019.[9] He served on three committees: General Laws, Courts of Justice, and Transportation.[3] Miyares also served on the Virginia Board of Veterans Services and as Chairman of the Commission on Equal Opportunity for Virginians in Aspiring and Diverse Communities.[3] He was the 2018 and 2019 "Legislator of the Year" by the College of Affordability and Public Trust and 2018 "Legislator of the Year" by the Hampton Roads Military Officers Association.[3] In 2019 he received the "Action Award" by the Safe House Project.[3]

Miyares voted against the Medicaid expansion bill (HB 5001) in the 2018 legislative session.[10]

He endorsed Marco Rubio in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, and was Rubio's Virginia campaign co-chairman.[11] In 2016, amid the Cuban thaw, Miyares criticized Governor Terry McAuliffe's outreach to Cuba.[12] Miyares introduced a non-binding resolution (H.J. 1777) in 2016 condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.[13][14]

Miyares opposes abortion, with exceptions in cases of rape, incest, and protecting the life of the mother.[15] He supports the death penalty, and opposed the decision to abolish capital punishment in Virginia in 2021.[16][17] In 2020, Miyares opposed legislation to increase the minimum wage in Virginia.[18]

In August 2020, he offered HB 5037, a bill that would grant immunity, except in cases of willful misconduct or gross negligence, to public officials and businesses who followed public health measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.[19]

In September 2020, Miyares voted against legislation to authorize local governments to remove Confederate monuments on public property.[20]

Virginia attorney general[edit]

Election[edit]

In May 2021, Miyares was nominated as the Republican candidate for Virginia Attorney General. He ran against Mark Herring, the incumbent Democratic attorney general, who sought a third term in the November 2021 general election.[15][21] Miyares was selected at the Virginia Republican Party's "unassembled" convention, in which party delegates cast ranked-choice ballots at polling sites across the state.[21] Miyares defeated three other candidates: Leslie Haley, Chuck Smith, and Jack White.[21] In the final round, Miyares defeated Smith, a hard-right candidate, by a closer-than-expected margin of 52% to 48%.[22][23]

During his campaign against Herring, Miyares emphasized crime issues.[15] He opposed proposals for the elimination of qualified immunity and declined to take a position on what he would do in the controversial police killing of Bijan Ghaisar.[15] In the November 2021 election, Miyares defeated Herring in a tight race, becoming the first Hispanic and Cuban American to be elected Attorney General of Virginia.[24][25]

Tenure[edit]

Upon taking office, Miyares fired 17 attorneys, and 13 other employees, in the Virginia AG's Office.[26] Those fired included attorneys in the AG's Office of Civil Rights,[27] as well as lawyers working on housing conditions[26] and human trafficking cases.[28] Miyares also fired the counsel for George Mason University (GMU) and the University of Virginia; the latter was on leave from his UVA position, serving as top investigator for the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.[29] The firings prompted an acrimonious debate in the state Senate.[27]

Shortly after taking office, Miyares withdrew the Virginia AG Office's brief to the Supreme Court, submitted under his predecessor, supporting a challenge to Mississippi's abortion ban. In his letter to the Supreme Court reversing Virginia's position, Miyares took the stance that there is no constitutional right to obtain an abortion and that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey were wrongly decided.[30]

Miyares issued an advisory opinion in which he concluded that Virginia's public colleges and universities lacked the power to require students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before enrolling or taking in-person classes. Such advisory opinions are not binding, although at least two institutions (GMU and Virginia Tech) dropped their vaccine requirement after Miyares issued the opinion.[31][32]

On February 10, 2022, Miyares' deputy attorney general for government operations and transactions resigned when it was reported that she had spread misinformation about the 2020 election and praised the 2021 United States Capitol attack; in her position, she would have overseen matters related to future elections in Virginia. Miyares himself has affirmed that Joe Biden was legitimately elected president and has condemned the attack on the United States Capitol.[33][34]

Electoral history[edit]

Date Election Candidate Party Votes %
Virginia House of Delegates, 82nd district
November 3, 2015[35] General Jason S. Miyares Republican 10,046 65.19
William W. Fleming Democratic 5,335 34.62
Write-ins 29 0.19
Bill DeSteph ran for Senate; seat stayed Republican
Date Election Candidate Party Votes %
Virginia Attorney General
November 2, 2021[36] General Jason S. Miyares Republican 1,647,100 50.36
Mark R. Herring Democratic 1,620,564 49.55
Write-ins 2,995 0.09

Personal life[edit]

Miyares and his wife, Paige (Atkinson) Miyares, have three daughters and live in Virginia Beach, Virginia.[37] His father-in-law, John Atkinson, was formerly treasurer of Virginia Beach.[5] Miyares is a member of the Galilee Episcopal Church and a past President of the Cape Henry Rotary, where he was a Paul Harris Fellow.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Official Legislative Profile".
  2. ^ a b Vozella, Laura (January 2, 2016). "Va. Republican challenges McAuliffe to meet with dissidents in Cuba". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Jason S. Miyares". Virginia Capitol Connections. Winter 2022. p. 5.
  4. ^ McKinney, Matt (November 4, 2015). "Miyares wins Virginia House of Delegates 82nd District". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Matt McKinney, Miyares wins Virginia House of Delegates 82nd District, The Virginian-Pilot (November 4, 2014).
  6. ^ Jenna Portnoy, How George Allen's chief of staff inspired legislation to make it easier for gay couples to raise children, Washington Post (February 26, 2019).
  7. ^ Todd Allen Wilson, Hirschbiel calls for reform of Congress, pay cuts for lawmakers, Daily Press (July 11, 2012).
  8. ^ Official election results. Virginia State Board of Elections
  9. ^ Miyares wins GOP nod for attorney general, Inside NoVa (May 10, 2021).
  10. ^ "HB5001". LIS Virginia. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  11. ^ Laura Vozzella, Rubio announces more Virginia endorsements, Washington Post (February 2, 2016).
  12. ^ Schneider, Gregory (February 1, 2017). "Richmond notebook: Rapt silence, then applause for a lawmaker with a critique of McAuliffe's Cuba outreach". The Washington Post.
  13. ^ "STATEWIDE JEWISH COMMUNITY PRAISES THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR OVERWHELMINGLY PASSING H177, A FORCEFUL CONDEMNATION OF THE ANTI-ISRAEL BDS MOVEMENT" (PDF). JCRC. March 9, 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 3, 2016.
  14. ^ "LIS > Bill Tracking > HJ177 > 2016 session". lis.virginia.gov. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  15. ^ a b c d Matthew Barakat, Herring seeks 3rd term as AG; Miyares stands in his way, Associated Press (October 12, 2021).
  16. ^ Sarah Rankin, Virginia House joins Senate in voting to end death penalty, Associated Press (February 5, 2021).
  17. ^ Denise Lavoie, Virginia, with 2nd-most executions, outlaws death penalty, Associated Press (March 24, 2021).
  18. ^ Gregory S. Schneider, [1], Washington Post (March 8, 2020).
  19. ^ "Virginia lawmakers working to pass bills making it tougher to sue over COVID-19 issues". WTKR. August 27, 2020. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  20. ^ Laura Vozzella, Two Republicans running statewide in Virginia back Lee statue removal, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, Washington Post (September 9, 2020).
  21. ^ a b c Virginia GOP announces AG nominee; vote-counting to continue, Associated Press (May 9, 2021).
  22. ^ Candidate seeks recount in Virginia attorney general race, Associated Press (May 10, 2021).
  23. ^ Mel Leonor, Del. Jason Miyares edges Chuck Smith to win GOP nomination for attorney general, Richmond Times-Dispatch (May 10, 2021).
  24. ^ Nate Raymond, Republican Miyares defeats Herring in Virginia attorney general race, Reuters (November 3, 2021)
  25. ^ Miyares defeats Herring in tight race for Virginia attorney general, Daily Press (November 3, 2021).
  26. ^ a b Patrick Wilson, Miyares fires 30 in AG's office, including lawyer investigating dangerous conditions at Richmond apartments, Richmond Times-Dispatch (January 14, 2022).
  27. ^ a b Patrick Wilson, Partisan debate erupts in Va. Senate over Miyares' firing of 30 in AG's office, Richmond Times-Dispatch (January 18, 2022).
  28. ^ Delia Goncalves, Miyares' 'backup plan' would give concurrent jurisdiction to AG's office, allowing police and sheriff to bypass local prosecutor's office, WUSA (January 21, 2021).
  29. ^ Justin Jouvenal and Lauren Lumpkin, Va.'s new attorney general fires U-Va. counsel who was on leave working as top investigator for Jan. 6 panel, Washington Post (January 23, 2021).
  30. ^ Emma North, Attorney General Miyares: Virginia no longer opposes 15-week abortion ban, WRIC (January 24, 2021).
  31. ^ Justin Jouvenal, Lauren Lumpkin and Hannah Natanson, Virginia's public colleges and universities can't require coronavirus vaccine, new GOP attorney general finds, Washington Post (January 28, 2021).
  32. ^ Message from President Tim Sands, From President Tim Sands: Changes in vaccine mandate, plans for successful semester, (January 31, 2022).
  33. ^ "Deputy Va. attorney general resigns after revelation of Facebook posts praising Jan. 6 rioters, claiming Trump won election". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  34. ^ Jiménez, Jesus; Chung, Christine (February 11, 2022). "Praise for Jan. 6 Costs Virginia Deputy Attorney General Her Job". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  35. ^ "November 2015 General Election Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  36. ^ "November 2021 General Election Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections.
  37. ^ "Del. Jason Miyares running for Va. attorney general in 2021". WAVY.com. December 2, 2020. Retrieved December 19, 2020.

External links[edit]

Virginia House of Delegates
Preceded by Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 82nd district

2016–2022
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Attorney General of Virginia
2021
Most recent
Legal offices
Preceded by Attorney General of Virginia
2022–present
Incumbent