Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has said he’s opposed to mandates, including COVID-19 vaccine mandates. However, many current vaccine mandates are federally-ordered, including a mandate for all members of the Armed Forces on active duty, or in ready reserve, including the National Guard.
Some Republican governors are testing their power to defy the order. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt appointed a new adjutant general of that state’s national guard after the previous adjutant general ignored Stitt’s request to fight the mandate. Last week, the new adjutant general said no Oklahoma Guardsmen who are not federally mobilized would have to take the vaccine.
The newly installed head of the Oklahoma National Guard has ordered that troops under his command will not be forced to comply with the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the armed forces.
“No Oklahoma Guardsman will be required to take the COVID-19 Vaccine,” Army Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino wrote in a Thursday memo. The memo was at odds with a Defense Department directive that the “total force” – including the National Guard – must be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Job Creators Network (JCN) Thursday announced a lawsuit against the Biden Administration just hours after the announcement that a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all companies with 100 employees or more will take effect on January 4.
That mandate is expected to affect 84 million Americans.
Glenn Youngkin’s tightrope walk between suburban moderates and hard-right Republicans seems to be paying off — on Friday the Cook Political Report (CPR) announced a rating shift in the gubernatorial contest from Lean Democratic to Toss Up. That matches with polling from a variety of sources that show an increasingly close race.
“We can no longer say this is a contest where the Democrat has the advantage. While many of the fundamentals favor [Terry] McAuliffe — and we expect he still has a slight edge — it’s Youngkin who seems to have the enthusiasm on his side,” CPR reported.
A new University of Mary Washington (UMW) poll of 1,000 Virginia adults found Terry McAuliffe leading with 43 percent, Glenn Youngkin with 38 percent, and Liberation Party candidate Princess Blanding at two percent. Among the 528 likely voters in the poll, Youngkin gained ten points, reaching 48 percent, while McAuliffe and Blanding stayed at 43 percent and two percent, respectively. But elections forecaster Chaz Nuttycombe said that the big story is the Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll released Tuesday that had McAuliffe leading Youngkin 45 to 42 percent; it surveyed 875 Virginia voters on September 17 and 18 with a 3.3 percent margin of error. It did not include Blanding.
“The one big exclamation point that should be having Dems say, ‘Oh s–t, oh f–k, oh s–t, oh f–k,’ is the PPP poll that came out. That had McAuliffe up by three. PPP is a very Democrat-leaning pollster,” he said. “Their polls usually overestimate Democrats by a few points.”
Some 4,800 state employees in Washington have already requested medical or religious exemptions from Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
According to information released this week by the state, those requests amount to nearly 8% of the 60,000 state workers who fall under Inslee’s 24 cabinet departments. As of Sept. 6, less than 50% of all employees in those agencies were verified as being fully vaccinated.
Inslee last month issued an executive order that all state employees, as well as K-12 and state university staff, must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face dismissal.
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is requiring high school athletes to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination by November 8, according to a Monday letter from Superintendent Scott Braband. He said that would help keep FCPS high school students in the classroom.
“Vaccinating our students is a critical step in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing any disruption to learning. The majority of pauses to instruction for our high school students come as a result of exposure during athletic activities, which the Virginia Department of Education classifies as a high-risk activity,” he said. “These pauses impact participation in activities and in-person learning while the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) investigates and determines close contacts and next steps.”
Norfolk State University has announced that it is paying students, faculty and staff to take the COVID-19 vaccine after it imposed a September 20 deadline for vaccination.
“All validated students who are fully vaccinated and have provided proper proof of vaccination by September 20, 2021, will receive a $500 incentive,” the school said on its website. “All Faculty/Staff who are fully vaccinated and have provided proper proof of vaccination by September 20, 2021, will receive a $1000 incentive.”