Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford), Speaker-designee Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), Majority Leader-designee Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), Caucus Chairman Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax), and Majority Whip Jackson Miller (R-Manassas) issued the following statement Thursday in response to Governor McAuliffe’s Executive Order Number 68 creating the Task Force on Public Safety Preparedness and Response to Civil Unrest.
“We continue to grieve over the horrific events that unfolded in Charlottesville, but as we emerge from this nightmare many Virginians are beginning to ask fair questions about how this incident was handled.
“The governor’s decision to create this Task Force is an appropriate step that will allow us to learn more about what transpired in Charlottesville to ensure that this never happens again. It is our hope that this Task Force will conduct a timely, exhaustive, and independent-minded review that unveils all of the facts, assesses the planning and preparedness of local and state government, and reviews the actions taken and direction given throughout the incident.
“We strongly encourage the governor to include the Chairs of the General Assembly’s Public Safety committees and to fully disclose all reports, meetings, and findings of the Task Force to ensure confidence and determine whether a more independent investigation is necessary.
“And while we agree this review is necessary, we have no doubt that the brave men and women of local law enforcement, the Virginia State Police, and the Virginia National Guard who were on the ground in Charlottesville conducted themselves with the highest level of courage, dedication, and professionalism.”