Taylor’s Big Victory
At the Richmond Candidates Forum at the Gay Community Center of Richmond, there were a few standout performances. Shannon Taylor, the newly elected Commonwealth’s Attorney for Henrico County, spoke eloquently, directly, and with a sense of calm collectedness.
She directly answered questions about LGBT equality while Republican candidate Matt Geary danced around issues such as workplace non-discrimination and hate crime legislation. More on Taylor’s viewpoints below.
Bill Janis, the Independent frontrunner with a lot of financial backing was the expected lead in this race and was a no-show at that forum.
Why were all eyes on this race?
Executive members of the Republican party asked Geary to step out of the race after an alleged extramarital affair. Geary disregarded that request and members of the party — including a very vocal Eric Cantor — shifted their focus to supporting Janis, leading to a split GOP vote last night.
The Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney seat had been a stepping stone previously for the likes of former Governor Jim Gilmore. Taylor told GayRVA.com last week she doesn’t buy into the political ladder.
“Everyone’s focus today should be on being the Commonwealth’s Attorney because you want to serve the citizens of Henrico County and you want to be an effective leader in public safety — not thinking about being Attorney General in 2016 or whenever,” she said.
“The idea that anyone is using this office for some stepping stone in the future – at this point, gives the appearance that they’re not serious about this job right now.”
At the candidate’s forum, Taylor was vocal in her support of LGBT equality — which for her, hits close to home. Taylor says she has a cousin that has recently come out as a lesbian.
“She’s in a relationship with a woman and I support her,” she said. ”I’ve been blessed being raised by two parents that have always taught me to treat everyone fairly regardless of skin color, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.”
Taylor moved to Henrico after graduating from the University of Virginia. She attended law school at University of Richmond. It’s her passion for the criminal justice system and experience as a professional prosecutor that brings her to the new role of Commonwealth’s Attorney.
“You have to treat people with decency. If you want people to cooperate, you have to treat them as a human being. They’ll respect you in return – you’ll be able to make some advancement.
“When we talk about homicide and the loss of life, there’s no number in the world that will ever bring back that person. You talk about the appropriate amount of time for sentencing of five, ten, twenty years — you have to give yourself a perspective of ‘how was I twenty years ago.’”
Taylor says working with former Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney David Hicks gave her the good fortune of working in a diverse office – something she hopes to bring to her role in Henrico County.
“…The duty of a diverse office is that you have so many diverse people that have had so many diverse experiences – with the scope of your team, you can be creating appropriate results. This also means thinking outside the box for crime prevention.”
“If you look at everyone the same and treat everyone the same – you can expect that our processes will work better.”
Kevin Clay is the editor and publisher of GAYRVA.COM. He is a Richmond native, loves the city and knows it's on the edge of greatness. Don't hold back RVA. You can follow Kevin on GAYRVA's Twitter or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the new RVA LGBTQ Police Liaison, Henrico Commonwealth Attorney this Saturday at Diversity Richmond
Everyone is invited to join the conversation. Community members, Allies, Service providers.January 12, 2016
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