Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin got straight to work Saturday, issuing 11 executive orders within hours of his inauguration.
Several of the orders were aimed at the issues within Virginia schools that gave him the edge over Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe in the waning days of the election.
“It’s Day One, and we are going to work just like we promised,” said Youngkin in a press release, directing an end to “the use of divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, in public education” with his first executive order. He further made good on his promise to parents with his second order by “empowering [them] in their children’s education and upbringing by allowing them to make decisions on whether their child wears a mask in school.” (RELATED: Ahead of Youngkin’s Inauguration, Virginia Parents Are Skeptical He Will Follow Through On His Campaign Promises)
“In Virginia, it is clear under law that parents have a fundamental right to make decisions for their children’s upbringing, their education and their care … we’re providing them the ability to make the right decision for their child with regards to their child’s well-being,” Youngkin told Fox News’ John Roberts on Sunday in his first official interview as Governor.
Youngkin continued to make good on his campaign promises by vowing, with his fourth order, to investigate the recent sexual assault case in Loudoun County.
“There is one fundamental tenet between government and those we serve, to keep them safe. And when it comes to our children, it is paramount that our school systems live up to that value. What we see here, strong, strong, strong evidence that in fact it was not only, not taken seriously, it was hidden, and so we have asked the attorney general to go to work. We are going to get full transparency and make sure we hold this school board accountable for the decisions that were made,” Youngkin told Roberts. “I do believe there has been dereliction of duty so all actions in order to hold this school board accountable should be taken,” Youngkin added.
Additional executive orders included restoring integrity and confidence in the Parole Board of the Commonwealth of Virginia, combating human trafficking, establishing a commission to combat rising anti-semitism, rescinding a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for state employees and declaring Virginia “open for business.”
“What we heard from voters on November 2, from all voters, not Republicans versus Democrats, but from Virginians, was that they are ready for a new way forward. We won the independent vote, we had droves of Democrats come across the aisle,” Youngkin told Roberts. “We won the Hispanic vote and the Asian vote. We had a greater percentage of the Black vote than any Republicans got in recent memory. What this demonstrates to me is that Virginians are ready for a new direction,” he added. (RELATED: Youngkin Beats McAuliffe, Clinching First Statewide Win In Virginia For Republicans Since 2009)
Calling it a “new day in Virginia,” Youngkin said in his press release, “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.”