Republican candidate for governor, Ed Gillespie, right, gestures during a news conference with his running mates, Lt. Gov. candidate Jill Vogel, left, and Attorney General candidate John Adams, center, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

EXCLUSIVE Interview with VA Attorney General Candidate John Adams

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This week I had the extreme honor of interviewing the Republican candidate running for Attorney General of Virginia, John Adams.

Adams, a Navy veteran, is currently a private practice attorney. He currently resides with his wife, Lisa, in the Richmond area. They have four children.

I questioned Adams on his commitment to defending the constitutional principles conservative Virginians hold dear, like limited government and individual liberty. I was very pleased with responses.

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The protection of the Second Amendment is important to conservative Virginians. How did you feel about current Attorney General Mark Herring’s revocation of CHP with 25 states? What would you do as Attorney General to protect the rights of law abiding gun owners?

Mark Herring’s politically motivated maneuver to revoke Virginia’s concealed carry reciprocity was an attempt to pursue a political agenda to appease his donors, such as Michael Bloomberg. It was so out of the mainstream that his own governor, Terry McAuliffe, undermined his decision just a couple weeks later and overturned this action. Concealed carry holders are law-abiding citizens who care about protecting their families from violent criminals. As attorney general, I will defend the Second Amendment from government overreach by defending Virginia’s laws.

How does constitutionalism play a role in your conduct?

Whether serving in the Navy, clerking for Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, or serving as an Associate Counsel to the President in the White House, I have been supporting and defending the Constitution much of my life. Faithful adherence to the Constitution will be the central focus of my tenure as AG. And it is only through faithful adherence that the Constitution will continue to secure individual liberty and provide for government of, by, and for the People.

Who is your favorite founding father, and why?

John Adams, of course! Joking aside, while the John Adams was a remarkable statesman who played a critical role in the founding of the United States, I have always believed George Washington was, without question, the Father of our Country. It was his character, leadership, and presence that allowed him to not only lead our fledgling country to victory over the most powerful military In the world, but to inspire his fellow citizens that it could and must be done in the first place. Once in power, he could easily have made himself king – as virtually every conquering military leader had done up to that time. Instead, he faithfully executed the Office of President, with strict adherence to the Constitution, setting THE example for all future Presidents to follow. He was “first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.” And he still is.

The sanctity of life is very important to conservative Virginians, and I can personally say that it’s a “make or break” vote for me. What would you do as attorney general to protect the right to life if given the opportunity?

I am pro-life. I believe that all human life is precious, created equal, and deserving of legal protection, whether already—or yet to be—born. The fact that abortion is now a constitutional right demonstrates the raw power of the Supreme Court. It also shows how important it is for Virginia to have an effective and principled lawyer to represent us before that Court. As Attorney General, I will fight up to and at the Supreme Court to protect Virginians from further judicial overreach. In Virginia, I will ensure that all laws passed by the General Assembly, including those that protect the unborn, are defended in court when they come under attack.  I believe that we must promote a culture of life in Virginia. This starts with protecting the unborn and standing up for the defenseless and voiceless in society.

You have a solid record of defending religious liberty in your legal career. How do you feel that particular issue affects Virginia specifically, and what would you do to continue such work in the future?

Virginia’s Founding Fathers made us a beacon of religious freedom for the rest of the world.  But our first freedom is under attack from activist judges and liberal bureaucrats who would leave people of faith defenseless against Washington and its accomplices in Richmond.  When the federal government tried to squelch the religious liberty of nuns and small business owners, I stood up for the freedoms of all Americans in the Supreme Court. I’ll bring the experience we need to fight for the free exercise rights of all Virginians.

You’ve stated before that you believe that the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision legalizing gay marriage directly interfered with Virginia’s constitution, and the will of Virginia voters. In the past, Virginians have voted to keep marriage between one man and one woman. Mark Herring has changed his position on the issue, but you have remained steadfast. If the opportunity arose again, and Virginians voted in the opposite direction, would you respect that?

Mark Herring is the only candidate running for Attorney General who has taken action to limit the rights of the LGBT community when he voted for the marriage amendment as a state senator before reversing course and changing his mind. I often say on the trail, the issue is not whether or not you agree with gay marriage, it’s how Mark Herring represented his client—the Commonwealth of Virginia—in that case. Not only did he refuse to defend his client, he turned on his client and joined the other side – that is not how a lawyer operates. As Attorney General, I will defend the laws passed by the people through their elected representatives in the General Assembly, regardless of my personal, political preferences. And this includes defending constitutional amendments that are voted on and approved by Virginia voters.

As Attorney General of Virginia, would you have any qualms about disagreeing with or defying President Trump if need be? Could we count on you to stand for Virginia first, regardless of which party holds the White House?

I am running to be Virginia’s attorney general. As a sovereign state, Virginia needs a lawyer that will stand up to government overreach regardless of who’s in the White House. Mark Herring, on the other hand, has been overtly political in standing down when the Obama Administration overstepped its authority, but quick to act against President Trump. I will stand up to federal overreach and unconstitutional executive action regardless of whether it’s coming from a Republican or Democrat. This is about protecting Virginia and Virginia’s laws, and keeping us safe at the same time.

You’ve long been an advocate of school choice. First, what would you do as Attorney General to assure Virginia parents that they ultimately know how to best educate their children? Second, the “school choice” stance makes many public school teachers uneasy. What would you do as Attorney General to ensure that their jobs and roles are respected as well?

This is really an issue for the General Assembly to take up. While I personally support school choice, the attorney general doesn’t make law. I firmly believe that with a Republican governor we can make a lot of progress on issues surrounding access to a good education and school choice. At the end of the day, the job as attorney general would be to enforce the laws passed by the General Assembly, not act as an activist attorney general based on personal, political preferences.

Adams’ responses indicate that like his namesake, he is a principled individual committed to upholding and defending the constitutional principles that his state holds dear.

“I haven’t spent a life in politics. I’ve spent my life fighting for our country, in the Navy, as a prosecutor, and as a lawyer in private practice, protecting our families, businesses, and communities,” Adams’ website reads. “In the coming months, as I travel to meet with Virginians in every corner of the Commonwealth, all I ask is that you give me a chance. I am convinced that Virginia needs a new lawyer. There is too much at stake. I look forward to meeting you and hearing your thoughts, concerns, and ideas.”

Virginians, let’s get out the vote for this constitutional conservative on November 7th.

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Autumn Price

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