Who is Jason Miyares? Virginia AG fires 30 staffers and opens probe into Loudoun board
Clearly enthused about his new job, Virginia's new Attorney General got to work even before he was formally sworn in on January 15, 2022. According to reports, Jason Miyares, a Republican, fired 30 staffers from his office including the entire Conviction Integrity Unit on January 14, 2022. Shortly after being sworn in, his first act was to launch an investigation into the Loudoun County School Board, which has been repeatedly plagued by scandals.
The embattled board's issues are widely seen as a key factor that led to Republican Glenn Youngkin winning the gubernatorial race in 2021. In June, the board controversially decided to enact Policy 8040, allowing trans students to use a bathroom of their choice. That led to one girl being raped by a trans student who was dubbed "skirt-wearing teen", which set off a major storm before he pleaded no contest to the charges in November.
The "woke" changes at the board appeared to go down very badly with the public, leading Republicans to sweep the elections and ignite a massive campaign of change. On day one, Youngkin banned CRT education and also ended mask mandates in a series of executive orders. Now, it's being reported his AG is on his own crusade against the Democrats' reforms.
Who is Jason Miyares?
Born in Greensboro, North Carolina to immigrants from Cuba, Miyares grew up in Virginia Beach. He graduated from James Madison University before obtaining a Juris Doctor from College of William & Mary’s Law School. While he did make partner at Madison Strategies, Miyares' career always seem closely entwined with politics. He spent a stint as the assistant commonwealth's attorney in Virginia Beach but also worked George Allen's 2000 Senate campaign and Scott Rigel's 2010 and 2012 House of Representative campaigns.
Those experiences led him to contest the 2015 Virginia House of Delegates elections, which he ran unopposed in the Republican primary. When he defeated Democrat Bill Fleming in the general election, Miyares became the first Cuban-American to be elected to the Virginia General Assembly. He won his reelection campaigns in 2017 and 2019, on the back of a slew of conservative promises including blocking Medicaid expansion and battling against increasing the minimum wage.
In September 2020, he became particularly notable for opposing legislation that would allow local governments to remove Confederate monuments. Notably, he also opposed the abolition of the death penalty in Virginia back in 2021. His strongly conservative ideology, backed by the anti-Democrat sentiment in the state propelled him to AG in late 2021, and it's clear he's keen to get to work.
Miyares goes after Loudoun County School Board
Even though he was due to be sworn in only on January 15, he was reportedly behind the mass firing just the day before at the AG's office. Amongst those laid off include 17 attorneys and the entire Conviction Integrity Unit, responsible for investigating claims of innocence by convicted felons. "During the campaign, it was made clear that Attorney General Miyares and former Attorney General Herring have very different visions for how the office should be run. This is routine for a new administration," defended his spokesperson.
But if the firings raised questions and some controversy, one of Miyares' decisions appeared to have the exact opposite effect. Hours after he took over, Miyares promised to investigate the Loudoun County board, noting, "One of the reasons Virginians get so fed up with government is the lack of transparency - and that's a big issue here." He added, "Loudoun Country Public Schools covered up a sexual assault on school grounds for political gain, leading to an additional assault of a young girl."
It's unclear which team will be investigating the board and what the scope of the investigation is, but Miyares did say in a statement, "These investigations are not to solely go after or bring criminal charges against any one actor, but to learn what mistakes were made so that no other Parole Board or schools ever repeats them." He made that announcement with a tweet saying, "As a candidate, I promised to investigate the scandals at the Virginia Parole Board and Loudoun County Schools. As Attorney General, I am proud to say that the process has begun and the investigations are officially open."
As a candidate, I promised to investigate the scandals at the Virginia Parole Board and Loudoun County Schools.— Jason Miyares (@JasonMiyaresVA) January 15, 2022
As Attorney General, I am proud to say that the process has begun and the investigations are officially open. pic.twitter.com/02wvO85wbI
The tweet was met with widespread support as angry parents called on Miyares to prosecute the board members. Despite also running on a campaign against the board, Governor Youngkin did not comment on Miyares' announcement but is likely to weigh in once the investigation starts producing results.