Jay Jones is a Democratic candidate for Virginia Attorney General. His name will appear on the ballot on June 8 during the Democratic Party primary election.
Name: Jay Jones
Race: Attorney General
Biography: Jay is a lifelong resident of Hampton Roads, comes from a family of public servants, and is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing Norfolk.
The descendant of slaves, Jay’s family has been in Norfolk since the early 20th century. His grandfather, Hilary H. Jones, Jr., was a pioneering civil rights attorney in Norfolk and became the first black member of the Norfolk School Board.
Jay’s father, Jerrauld C. Jones, is one of the few Virginians to serve in all three branches of state government. He was a member of the General Assembly from 1988 through 2002, served as director of the Department of Juvenile Justice under Governor Mark Warner, and is now a Circuit Court judge. His mother, Lyn Simmons, is currently a judge on the Norfolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court after a long career as a violent crime prosecutor and attorney in private practice.
Jay completed his undergraduate studies at the College of William and Mary, received his law degree from the University of Virginia, and is currently a practicing attorney at Bischoff Martingayle in Norfolk. Jay and his wife, Mavis, reside in the Larchmont neighborhood of Norfolk. They are members of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception.
Why should Virginians elect you as their next Attorney General?
Virginia and the nation are at a crossroads. I decided to run because I feel deeply in my soul that as we enter this new generation at this particular moment in Virginia’s history that we deserve leaders who have an ear to the future. Leaders who won’t be afraid to take civil rights, justice reform, and equity head on. Leaders who have both legislative experience as well as lived experience who are capable of representing this diverse Commonwealth.
What do you hope to accomplish, if elected?
As Virginia’s next Attorney General, I would prioritize fixing our broken justice system, so that everyone is treated fairly, regardless of who you are or where you’re from. In the legislature, I have fought to expand civil rights, and I would bring that same conviction and energy to the office of Attorney General.
I would ensure that our environment is protected. As a resident of Hampton Roads, we know all too well the effects that climate change and flooding have had on our area. Moreover, the Chesapeake Bay is our most treasured resource and we must devote our time and energy to protecting our waterways and air. As Attorney General, I would ensure that air and water are protected from big polluters and that the effects of climate change are mitigated.
I also believe in representation for all and in bringing the Office of the Attorney General to the people. That’s why I’ve advocated for opening satellite offices of the Attorney General’s office across the Commonwealth, including right here in Hampton Roads.
What is the most important legal issue facing Virginians, and how would you tackle that issue?
The most pressing legal issues facing Virginians is the way that our justice system is skewed against people of color and those with lesser economic means. It is no secret that the Code of Virginia is embedded with vestiges of the Black Codes and Jim Crow and we’re overdue for a full overhaul that meets the needs of a 21st century justice system.
What areas of consumer protection would you focus on, if elected?
The Office of the Attorney General is a consumer protection office at its core, and we must prioritize all 8.5 million Virginians as we enter this new Virginia decade. Our plan for field offices is based around the idea that we must meet people where they are to understand their problems and let them know we’re here for them — whether it is protecting their healthcare and protecting their right to prescription drugs at fair cost, ensuring they aren’t the victims of price gouging for basic human needs like groceries, or standing up to the utility companies so that our monthly bills are reasonable and appropriate.
What is the most important legal issue that has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, and how would you address it?
Maintaining housing security for Virginians stands out as the most pressing issue that has been exacerbated by the pandemic, and we have to address the eviction crisis head on. The Attorney General must use all available resources to ensure that Virginians have a roof over their heads and that landlords are abiding by the procedures laid out by the federal and state governments.
We must choose empathy and compassion in our toughest times and work with all parties going forward to find a proper path that provides relief for residents and redress for landlords. As Attorney General I’ll use the full weight of the office to fight for Virginia’s residents and protect them when they need help the most.