BRISTOL, Tenn./Va. (WJHL) – Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares and Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti met for the first time face to face as generals on the state line.
Miyares said the Bristol stop was part of his annual Southwest Virginia RV tour.
The attorneys general visited with local businesses up and down State Street, learning more about the current state of the economy and how they’ve overcome COVID-19 challenges.
“I think the most important quality of a leader is to listen, that’s part of what I’ve been doing is listening to concerns, seeing what’s happening, telling them a little bit about the work we do at the attorney general’s office in Richmond,” Miyares said.
Both Republicans, Miyares and Skrmetti have been outspoken in recent days about transgender issues, specifically as they relate to laws involving minors.
Almost a week after Vanderbilt University Medical Center announced it had paused all transgender surgeries on minors, Skrmetti said he’s leading a 13-state coalition asking the US Attorney General to protect people’s first amendment rights to criticize the practice.
“There was a letter that went out last week from the American Medical Association and it was asking the Department of Justice to intervene with people who are using provocative language about transgender issues for juveniles,” Skrmetti said. “We just want to make clear to the US Attorney General that the first amendment protects the right of every American to criticize what is going on, to ask questions.”
Transgender issues are also on the mind of Virginia’s Attorney General. Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin recently signed legislation requiring Virginia schools to inform students’ parents or guardians when a student wants to change their name, nickname and/or pronouns. News Channel 11 asked Miyares how he plans to enforce that.
“Some school boards think it’s OK for the school to change the child’s gender and not even notify the parent,” Miyares said. “I don’t comment on potential or pending litigation, but I will tell you all of our policy is about parents should be involved.”
The meeting on the state line made it clear the two Republican Attorneys General in neighboring states see themselves as a team.
“We have a lot of common interests and a lot of the work that the AG’s do both on the constitutional cases and on the consumer protection cases,” Skrmetti said. “It happens because we work together.”