Governor Glenn Youngkin, Attorney General Jason Miyares, and Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears took their oaths of office on Saturday afternoon, followed by a howitzer salute from the Army National Guard. Then, Youngkin gave his first speech as governor, with an emphasis on a “common path forward” and with renewed promises from his campaign.
“Our politics have become too toxic. Soundbites have replaced solutions — taking precedence over good faith problem-solving,” he said. “My fellow Virginians, I come to this moment, and to this office, knowing we must bind the wounds of division. Restore trust. Find common cause for the common good.”
Youngkin included ideology and policy hints in his unity message. He called for respect for individual freedoms and said government should reflect the will of the people, not decide what is best. He also referred to many of his campaign promises — tax cuts, more charter schools, job creation, funding for law enforcement, and parental rights in schools.
In his speech, Youngkin did not mention Critical Race Theory (CRT), but his first executive order will.
“Executive Order Number One delivers on his Day One promise to restore excellence in education by ending the use of divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, in public education,” a Youngkin press release sent to media shortly before the inauguration said.
The press release focused on fulfilling Youngkin’s Day One Game Plan promises, and included eight other executive orders and two executive directives. Executive Order Two focuses on parental rights to make decisions about their children wearing masks in schools. Some of the other orders focus on the parole board, an investigation in Loudoun County, and on Virginia’s withdrawal from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The executive directives focus on cutting regulation and on rescinding the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for state employees.
The order and other executive actions announced haven’t been published yet but Youngkin is expected to sign them later today. Some of the actions may face legal challenges. For example, Democrats have questioned the governor’s authority to remove Virginia from RGGI.
“We must set our eyes on the common values and common future that unites us. To work every day to strengthen the spirit of Virginia, and redeem the promise of our people,” Youngkin said at the end of his speech. “It’s day one. Let’s get to work.”
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