The Republican nominees for Virginias lieutenant governor and attorney general yesterday vowed to protect the progress the state has made under Republican leadership.
With the state party convention behind them, state Delegate Jay Katzen, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, and attorney Jerry Kilgore, the partys nominee for attorney general, said they will continue to make education, transportation and public safety their top priorities and build a government that is more accessible to residents.
"We want to make sure that we continue to be a leader in the nation in all aspects," said Mr. Kilgore, 39, a former secretary of public safety in the administration of then-Gov. George F. Allen. "We dont ever want to lose that edge."
"We cant slip back to where we started eight years ago," said Mr. Katzen, 64.
The two men were unopposed in their candidacies and were nominated by voice vote at the convention Saturday in Richmond.
Meanwhile, Republican gubernatorial nominee Mark L. Earley resigned as attorney general to campaign full time. He named his chief deputy, Randolph Beales, to succeed him.
Mr. Beales, 41, will head the agency for at least five weeks, until the General Assembly returns to Richmond on July 9 for its congressional-redistricting session and decides who will complete Mr. Earleys term.
Mr. Beales said he wants the legislature to let him keep the job until the end of year. "Ive done this for 3 1/2 years and Ive been at Marks side," he said. "If the General Assembly keeps me on, I would be very honored to be able to do the job."
Mr. Katzen, a former Foreign Service officer who speaks six languages, has represented the 31st District since 1993, when he beat incumbent Democrat Jerry Wood with 57 percent of the vote. His time in the House of Delegates has been marked by devotion to traditional conservative causes, such as gun rights and school choice.
As a delegate, the Fauquier County resident introduced legislation allowing school choice to all residents by providing tuition-tax credits to parents of children not in public schools, and establishing a fund enabling low-income parents to have the same choice over the education of their children.
"We need to make sure that every child in Virginia gets a good education," Mr. Katzen said in a telephone interview yesterday.
"Each child should be able to attend the school of their choice regardless of their background. Thats important."
Mr. Katzen said that as lieutenant governor, he would continue the Republican record of setting higher academic standards for schoolchildren and increase accountability by implementing school report cards that would let parents know how their childs school is performing.
Mr. Katzen also said he would help the governor work on bringing more jobs to the state and implementing more policies to reduce crime. Mr. Katzen co-sponsored legislation that abolished parole in Virginia.
"We need to protect the progress weve made and continue forward," he said.
Mr. Kilgore already has laid out a plan to implement higher ethical standards for public officials, enact tougher penalties in domestic-violence cases and reform the judicial system by stripping all circuit court judges of appointment powers.
Mr. Kilgore, who once worked as legal counsel for the state Republican Party, said as attorney general he would set up policies requiring public officials to disclose legislative office allowances on a monthly basis. He also wants to bar legislators from representing clients before state agencies and require electronic filing of lobbyist-disclosure forms.
"Its time to deal with these things and disclose them to the public," said Mr. Kilgore, who is making is second run for attorney general. "We want an open and honest plan to make sure Virginia government is open to the public in any way it possibly can."
One of Mr. Kilgores top priorities would be to increase penalties in domestic-violence cases and strengthen the states stalking laws. Mr. Kilgore aims to create a statewide online service for police officers to locate protective orders, broaden the scope of those orders and require courts to address domestic violence in custody decisions.
"I will use all the means at my disposal, be it legal, political and moral, to hunt down those who destroy our commonwealth by destroying its families," he said.
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