Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell will live blog here on Tuesday, August 29, from 6 to 7 pm. Join us for the session. Feel free to leave your questions in this thread.
Joe Budzinski – August 29, 2006
Attorney General McDonnell: Thank you for being so accessible! At our August 1 event in Sterling, you mentioned that you would be meeting with Governor Kaine, the State Police and ICE about implementing the ICE 287(g) training in Virginia. My understanding is that Virginia localities can get some kind of “volume discount” if they can invite the ICE trainers in to train a bunch of people at once – presumably having the state sanction this would help achieve this discount on a state-wide level (and also add the imprimatur of the state government for the benefit of Sheriff’s and police departments that are on the fence).
We had a meeting on August 15 with investigators from the Loudoun County Gang Intelligence Unit and they expressed the opinion they would be very much in favor of receiving such training if the “higher ups” would authorize it.
(My understanding is also that they don’t so much need the “training” – because most of them know what to do – but rather the certification to be allowed to help with cases that involved immigration law enforcement).
Can you provide any update on where those negotiations stand?
Bob: Joe, great to see (or at least blog with you) you
again. As long as ICE is understaffed in performing its mission, we must look for new ways to enforce laws dealing with illegal immigration, particularly those illegals who commit crimes in Virginia. I am continuing to work on this important public safety issue. I have spoken with ICE officials and others and continue to support additional tools for Virginia law enforcement.
Anonymous – August 29, 2006
Attorney General McDonnell: I have to ask the million dollar question….So, what office are you running for next? Governor, Lt. Governor or Something Higher?
P.S. I already suspect that your answer is going to be…”I’m just focusing on the AG’s office now and am trying to do the best job for the people of Virginia.”
Bob: Your suspicion is correct, the Attorney General’s office has 400 people and I’ve been working tirelessly to make the state’s law firm excellent. On the political front a top priority for me is the re-election of our great Senator George Allen, who has been one of the most pivotal figures in Virginia government over the last two decades. No Governor in recent history has accomplished as much as George Allen for Virginia, with the abolition of parole, truth-in-sentencing, welfare reform, high academic standards etc etc etc. It’s a record of outstanding results. Further, I want to see all of our Virginia Republican congressman re-elected, particularly Congresswoman Thelma Drake who represents Virginia’s most military friendly district.
Beyond that, I do have a distinct interest in the elections in 2009, and plan to be on the ballot. Being Attorney General is a great job, but I believe I can accomplish alot for the citizens of Virginia as Governor.
RV – August 29, 2006
AG – How can we encourage more minorities to seek elected office at the local and state levels so that we can have a government that mirrors our population?
Bob: The key is not to start at running for office, the key is to start encouraging civic activism and understanding of government in our schools and other institutions. It kills me that in 2005 47% of Virginians voted, but in Iraq, where my daughter serves today, roughly 70% of voters turned out, under the threat of violence. We need good people of all races to run for elected office who want to use their talents and abilities to make Virginia better.
Don’t forget about Question 13
Greg Letiecq – August 28, 2006
Mr. Attorney General,
First of all, thank you for speaking at the conference in Martinsville this weekend and helping to make it the success that it was.
At the conference, you spoke a bit about the Task Force focusing on gang violence that your office has worked with and how effective it has been. Do you feel there’s a way to build on this initiative? In the past weeks we’ve seen some troubling gang incidents and despite this program, many communities in Virginia feel the threat of gangs is greater than ever. What can our government and the citizens do to really put a lid on this violence?
Bob: My office is currently leading a major initiative in Richmond, funded by a federal grant (one of only 4 US Cities), to intensify efforts of law enforcement, prevention, and interdiction to curtail gang activity. The Richmond Police Chief has reported violent crime reductions of nearly 35% in the 10 targeted communities. We have 40 community partners from health care, faith-based, and civic organizations working with state,federal, and local law enforcement to target these dangerous criminals. We also have a gang task force in Northern Virginia focused on MS-13 and other dangerous gangs. Several weeks ago we announced a Shenandoah Valley Gang Initiative, and assigned a prosecutor to handle the multi-jursidictional grand jury investigations and indictments of gang members in the Valley.
In summary, we are aggressively pursuing partnerships with local and federal authorities to root out gang activity wherever it exists in Virginia.
Bob- Well folks I have run a few minutes late, to the chagrin of my scheduler. Again, I have enjoyed the opportunity to dialogue on the important issues of the day. I know all of you are looking forward to the start of the college football season this weekend. I promise to root for Virginia teams UNLESS they play Notre Dame, the 2006 national champions!
Bob: PS thanks Vivian for your invitation. Glad to have a forum on a blog in my old stomping grounds in Hampton Roads
Why didn’t you answer my question about why the General Assembly is extending the existing ban on same-sex civil unions and domestic patnerships to straight people, so that the ban would cover 100% of the population rather than 5-10% of it? Shouldn’t this amendment be called the “No Domestic Partnserships for Straight People Amendment?”
Thanks for coming.
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