Mark Obenshain is the clear choice to be the next attorney general of Virginia. He has impressed us with his professional experience, his moderate temperament and his calm demeanor. It doesn’t hurt that he has run one of the more positive statewide campaigns in recent memory. But it is his commitment to limited, effective government — overseen by skilled but modest leaders — that played the decisive role in securing our enthusiastic endorsement.
In recent years, state attorneys general have grown increasingly influential and, not coincidentally, more visible. We have applauded efforts by AGs, including Virginia’s, when they fight to protect the rights of citizens or impede overreach from Washington. But we also are concerned when state AGs, including our own, overstep their authority or pursue cases of tangential interest to their constituents.
Obenshain stressed to us that “it is not the job of the attorney general to substitute his judgment for the judgment of the voters.” He said, for instance, that he would “zealously defend” any legal challenge to the commonwealth’s recently passed transportation package, not because he supports every aspect of the legislation — he does not — but because it is now Virginia law. “Being a good lawyer is the most important part of the job,” Obenshain said. We agree.
As a state senator, Obenshain has demonstrated consistent support for the expansion and protection of personal freedom, particularly in his leadership on prohibiting eminent domain abuse and protecting property rights. As an attorney, Obenshain managed a 30-lawyer firm and has 25 years of litigation experience — an ideal background for someone who aspires to lead the state’s legal team.
Mark Obenshain is, of course, the son of Richard Obenshain, a distinguished founder of the modern Republican Party of Virginia and a natural reformer, who died in a 1978 plane crash while campaigning for a U.S. Senate seat. He is the son, too, of Helen Obenshain, who raised her own children after their father’s death, while improving the lives of hundreds of other children in her long career as an exemplary elementary school teacher. The son’s roots are indeed strong and firm.
Mark Obenshain is a man Virginians can trust to exercise sound judgment on their behalf, guided by his innate sense of both the possibilities and the limitations of government by the people.