Glenn Youngkin sworn in as Governor of Virginia

Glenn Youngkin was sworn in as Virginia’s 74th governor on Saturday at a noon inauguration ceremony in Richmond.

The former private equity executive, and the first Republican to win a statewide office in Virginia since 2009, had a message of unity in his speech to the crowd gathered outside the state Capitol of Virginia.

“My fellow Virginians, I come to this office at this time knowing that we need to find the wounds of division, restore trust, find common cause for the common good, and strengthen the spirit of Virginia,” a- he declared. “The spirit of Virginia is not a spirit that rests on the government telling us what is best for us, but rather reflecting the will of the people, defending and protecting the rights guaranteed by our Constitution.”

Mr. Youngkin’s popularity propelled Republicans to a majority in the Virginia House of Delegates. Democrats retain control in the state Senate. He succeeds outgoing Democratic Governor Ralph Northam.

Mr. Youngkin’s race against Democrat Terry McAuliffe led to a massive GOP turnout at the polls in November, solidifying Mr. Youngkin’s victory from behind in a state that President Biden has carried by 10 percentage points in 2020.

Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate, determined to overturn control of Congress in favor of the GOP, still hope Mr. Youngkin’s ascension to the governor’s mansion is a harbinger of what’s to come in mid -mandate in 2022.

Mr Youngkin, a political outsider before entering the race, overcame Mr McAuliffe’s strong backing from Democratic heavyweights to secure the election.

President Biden campaigned on Mr. McAuliffe’s behalf as November approached but ultimately failed to drum up Democratic enthusiasm. Mr. McAuliffe blamed Mr. Biden’s lackluster performance, in part, for his defeat.

Mr. McAuliffe has tried to rekindle the anti-Trump rhetoric that propelled incumbent Democratic Governor Ralph Northam to victory in 2017. But with Mr. Trump out of the White House, the message has fallen flat.

Mr Youngkin kept the former president at bay after receiving his endorsement, choosing not to campaign with Mr Trump and refusing to fully accept Mr Trump’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen .

Mr. Youngkin focused on local issues and tapped into growing parental frustration with education officials amid debates over critical race theory and COVID-19 restrictions. in Virginia schools were making national headlines.

The two candidates argued throughout the race over the role of parents in raising their children.

Mr. Youngkin argued for the role of parents in developing the curriculum, while Mr. McAuliffe argued that teachers and school officials should have the final say.

Mr McAuliffe sealed his fate in the final debate when he said: ‘I don’t think parents should be telling schools what to teach’, a phrase that has featured prominently in campaign adverts by Mr. Youngkin.

The education debate featured prominently in Mr Youngkin’s speech on Saturday.

“Parents should have a say in what is taught in schools,” he said. “In Virginia, parents have a fundamental right to make decisions about the upbringing, education, and care of their child. To parents, I say we respect you and will hold you accountable in raising your children. .

“We will take politics out of the classroom,” Mr. Youngkin said. “And we’ll focus on essential math, science and reading and teach all of our history – the good and the bad.”

Kerry Picket, Mica Soellner and Seth McLaughlin contributed to this report.

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