In the first major address of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli presented the gathered activists with an unusual charge.
“Conservatives should lead the campaign to changing the culture of corrections in America,” said Cuccinelli. It was a strange line in the sand for the 2013 Republican gubernatorial candidate, who has reputation as a fiery, liberty-minded pol. But in listing his five priorities he would pursue as Virginia’s governor, Cuccinelli ended on this note of compassion.
“The governor of Virginia must be willing to speak for those citizens who do not have a voice,” he said. “As governor, I want to continue our efforts to protect our most vulnerable citizens, as I’ve done as attorney general, and that’s at every stage of life.”
Cuccineli spoke about cracking down on sexual predators who prey on children online, stopping human trafficking, and being an advocate for the mentally ill, “people who, through no fault of their own, cannot help themselves.”
But this lawyer Northern Virginia and now his state’s chief law enforcement officer focused particularly on those treated unfairly by the criminal justice system. “I also want to continue to be a mighty voice for those who have been convicted of a crime but remain in prison because no one is willing to argue their innocence,” Cuccinelli said. “And how many times have I seen my fellow tough-on-crime conservatives be not merely willing but excited to lock up every convict and throw away the key? If we really believe that no one is beyond redemption, then we need to stop throwing away that key.”
In addition to being a voice for the voiceless, Cuccinelli said his priorities as governor include “simplifying the tax code,” streamlining and paring back regulations, reining in the size of the federal government, and providing “quality education” for all children.
The Republican candidate ended by pointing out that his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, is an “unabashed liberal” and a Clinton crony.
“He served as chairman of the DNC, was Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman in 2008, has been a prolific fundraiser for the Democratic candidates and their liberal causes, and worked with Bill Clinton to rent out the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House,” Cuccinelli said of McAuliffe. “We want to try to protect the Lafayette Bedroom in Virginia from the same thing.”