Newly inaugurated Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) spoke about the future of Virginia Monday afternoon in his first address to the Virginia General Assembly.
In his speech, Youngkin said the state is ready to be finished with the pandemic, noting that he was elected to “turn the page” on COVID-19.
“Our fight against COVID-19 will move forward based on this simple principle: we will protect lives and livelihoods,” he said. “That means no more mandates and no more shut downs. As I said on Saturday, it means Virginia is open for business.”
He did encourage Virginians to take the COVID-19 vaccine in order to help the state move forward.
“Speaking to you as your governor, I’ll never tell you what you must do,” Youngkin said, promising never to mandate vaccines. “But speaking to you as a friend and a neighbor, I strongly encourage you to get the vaccine.”
The Virginia Star reached out to the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians (VACEP), a group that has bemoaned overwhelmed hospitals, encouraged vaccines and supported mask mandates to see if it agreed with Youngkin on moving forward from the pandemic.
VACEP did not return a comment request.
Youngkin also focused heavily on education, which has been a hot topic in Virginia.
He rode an anti-Critical Race Theory (CRT) wave to the governor’s mansion in 2021. That wave largely manifested itself in the form of a transgender student – biologically male – who raped a girl in a Loudoun County high school bathroom. The school then covered up the rape, causing a firestorm among parents when the truth was revealed.
“Virginia’s parents want our history – all of our history, the good and the bad – to be taught,” Youngkin said. “But they want their children to be taught how to think, not what to think. And that’s why I signed a directive [Sunday] – an executive order – formalizing that we should not use inherently divisive concepts in schools, including Critical Race Theory, and why we should not be teaching our children to see everything through the lens of race.”
He also said that parents should be in charge of their children’s education, not the government.
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