Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares spent most of a day in Martinsville and Henry County speaking to a group of seniors and enjoying lunch with local and regional law enforcement.
Miyares was the guest speaker for the Southern Area Agency on Aging’s Henry County/Martinsville TRIAD meeting Friday morning at the Henry County Administration Building.
“Studies show that 90% of life’s problems can be traced to poor communication,” said Miyares. “So bringing people together to talk helps.”
Martinsville Police Chief Eddie Cassidy said his department was busy Friday morning investigating a string of thefts from vehicles in the city overnight.
“Larcenies are still going on, so lock your doors,” said Cassidy. “If you feel uncomfortable, please call us. We’d rather come out and find nothing than not come out when something might be going on.”
People are also reading…
Martinsville Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrew Hall told about 30 seniors in the Summerlin Meeting Room that they were not forgotten.
“They see you as potential targets,” said Hall. “They are smart and sophisticated. Don’t make yourself an easy target. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s usually because it is.”
Hall admitted that he, like so many others, pays all of his bills online.
“Know who you’re dealing with and don’t give out your social security number or your date of birth,” said Hall. “The worse thing anybody can do is isolate. You should count on family and friends. Those that are looking for easy targets are looking for people who isolate.”
Hall reminded the seniors in the room that his office was open and available for anyone in need of his services.
“The fact that the Attorney General is here speaks volumes,” Hall said. “You are not alone.”
The discussion among some of the attendees after the meeting concerned the last time a state attorney general visited Martinsville or Henry County.
Someone recalled Former Attorney General Mark Herring visiting the Sutherlin community in neighboring Pittsylvania County in 2015, but no one could recall an attorney general visiting the Martinsville area in the modern era.
“We are at a unique point where more is being done online,” said Miyares. “You just click a button. It’s a blessing, but it also makes us more vulnerable.”
Miyares said a new phenomenon exists in America that has caused seniors to feel as though they are no longer valued in society.
“Seniors in other countries and cultures are revered,” Miyares said. “Since the 1960s there has been this saying that you don’t trust anybody over 30, but I recently saw a bumper sticker that said “don’t trust anybody under 30.
“One of my sayings, whatever room I walk into, I know I’m not the smartest person in the room.”
Delegate Wren Williams (R-Stuart) thanked Miyares for taking the time to visit Southside.
“Before this, nobody ever visited us,” said Williams who has a law practice in Patrick County. “I’ve been able to help people get away from scams from a legal standpoint, but we all need to look after seniors who are being scammed.”
Martinsville Deputy Police Chief Rob Fincher said that crime in Martinsville was almost always caused either directly or indirectly by illegal drugs.
“But some of the worst drug pushers in the state were the pharmaceuticals,” said Miyares. “They knew it was addictive and they didn’t warn the public. The level of human tragedy is hard to look at without getting boiling mad. We are now getting several multi-million dollar settlements to put back into the community.”
Miyares said many pharmaceutical companies simply cared more about profits than people.
“We will continue to push as hard as possible,” said Miyares. “People will lie, cheat and steal to feed their addiction, and it all creates a level of distrust in the community.”
Miyares was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in November 2015, representing the 82nd district, which encompasses part of Virginia Beach; and on Jan. 15 he became Virginia’s 48th Attorney General.
“Jason’s mom fled Cuba,” said Stephanie LaPrade,” coordinator for the Southern Area Agency on Aging. “Jason graduated from James Madison University, he was a prosecutor in Virginia Beach and his mom was able to vote for her son almost 50 years after she fled Cuba.”
Miyares, dressed in a coat and open collar, blue jeans and comfortable shoes, walked in the room with a cup of coffee in one hand and shaking hands with the other.
“One in three Americans right now can’t afford to fill up their gas tank,” Miyares said. “Washington is upside down right now. I don’t understand why gas was $2.38 a gallon when Biden took office. I don’t understand why we need thousands of new IRS agents. The amount of meth and fentanyl flowing across the border is increasing. We have lost our priorities.”
Miyares said that every corner of America was measured on results, with the exception of the government.
Said Miyares: “I’m baffled with Washington’s priorities.”
When the meeting concluded, Miyares attended a law enforcement luncheon at Checkered Pig Restaurant, a short distance away, where the Phillips Group, owned by Eric Phillips, chairman of the Henry County-Martinsville Republican Committee, treated everyone to a meal.
“We had all Martinsville and Henry County sheriffs and chiefs in attendance and we also had the sheriffs from Danville, Patrick and Carroll counties and representatives from Pittsylvania County who joined the Attorney General for lunch,” said Phillips. “There were about 35 people for lunch, and the Henry County Sheriff’s Office made use of to-go orders as well.”