RICHMOND (LifeSiteNews) – Republican Glenn Youngkin formally became Governor of Virginia over the weekend, and marked his first day in office with no less than eleven executive actions aimed at fulfilling his campaign promises to conservatives on issues from education to COVID-19.
Youngkin, the former CEO of the private equity firm Carlyle Group, defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe last November, riding a wave of discontent with COVID restrictions and leftist radicalism in public schools that also fueled a GOP takeover of the state House of Delegates.
Following his Saturday inauguration, Youngkin issued nine executive orders and two executive directives. “It’s Day One, and we are going to work just like we promised,” the governor said. “The important steps we are taking today begins the work of restoring excellence in education, making our communities safer, opening Virginia for business and reinvigorating job growth, and making government work for the people, and not the other way around.”
Highlights include banning the promotion of critical race theory (CRT), the doctrine that race is a “socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of color” through American institutions, in public schools, clarifying that parents have the sole right to decide whether their children wear masks in public schools, requesting an investigation of the Loudoun County School District over allegations it covered up student rape, rolling back COVID-related business regulations, and rescinding COVID vaccine mandates for all state employees.
Several school districts, including Alexandria and Arlington, announced in response they would disregard the order and continue to mandate masks; Independent Women’s Forum director Julie Gunlock noted that Alexandria shared a guidance that was actually more stringent than what had previously been in place.
So, in Alexandria, VA @ACPSk12 officials are making the mask requirements MORE strict in light of @GlennYoungkin EO. NO exemptions and all kids MUST either wear KN95 masks all day or double mask w/at least one surgical mask. @JasonMiyaresVA @LarryOConnor @heatherhunterdc https://t.co/2AXShMj91q
— Julie Gunlock (@JGunlock) January 16, 2022
Youngkin responded to their defiance by promising that “we will use every resource in the governor’s authority to explore what we can do and will do in order to make sure that parents’ rights are protected”:
Exclusive: Governor Youngkin on Arlington school system saying it will require masks, despite Youngkin’s order stating that schools can’t do that. He threatened to use state resources to force schools to comply – but we still don’t know what that means exactly. @WTOP https://t.co/5Lijz9kbgd pic.twitter.com/SnC4dcCIar
— Nick Iannelli (@NickWTOP) January 16, 2022
Youngkin’s day-one slate of actions came as a relief to conservatives who were initially put off by some of his hiring decisions, including Aimee Rogstad Guidera for Secretary of Education and Joshua Marin-Mora for a top aide position. He also previously disappointed some by announcing he would not interfere with local-level vaccine or mask mandates, though he says he will join Virginia to legal challenges of federal vaccine mandates.