Promising a ‘new and better day,’ Gov. Youngkin bans critical race theory, mask mandates on day one

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Not since 2010 has Virginia had a Republican governor, and following his inauguration on Saturday, Gov. Glenn Youngkin wasted no time making good on his campaign promises, attacking Liberal policies via 11 executive orders — many aimed at restoring parental control over their children’s education — on his first day in office.

“Parents should have a say in what is taught in school because, in Virginia, parents have a fundamental right to make decisions with regards to their child’s upbringing, education, and care,” Youngkin said in his inauguration speech Saturday. “To parents, I say we respect you. And we will empower you in the education of your children.”

The first to be issued, “Ending the use of inherently divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, and restoring excellence in K-12 public education in the Commonwealth,” set a welcomed tone for angry parents who were literally told by Youngkin’s predecessor, former Gov. Ralph Northam, that he didn’t “think parents should be telling schools what to think.”

EO Number One states, “Our children deserve far better from their education than to be told what to think,” and issues 13 directives designed to identify and expunge divisive concepts, increase transparency and raise standards in K-12 education, effective immediately.

The second executive order empowers parents to decide whether to mask their children in school, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

“Executive Order Number Two delivers on his Day One promise to empower Virginia parents in their children’s education and upbringing by allowing parents to make decisions on whether their child wears a mask in school,” the release stated.

The third executive order aims to restore integrity and confidence in Virginia’s parole board.

And Executive Order Number Four addressed a scandal that shook the nation, directing officials to “investigate wrongdoing in Loudoun County,” where the school board has been accused of dismissing or covering up multiple sexual assault allegations, one of which resulted in the conviction of a male student who identified as gender fluid.

But it may be Youngkin’s sixth executive order that brings the greatest relief to his constituents, as it officially declares Virginia open for business.

Governor Youngkin also addressed the economy in two executive directives designed  “to jumpstart our economy by cutting job-killing regulations by 25 percent” and “to restore individual freedoms and personal privacy by rescinding the vaccine mandate for all state employees.”

The new governor’s inauguration delivered a much-needed message of “hope and optimism” to the thousands of Virginians in attendance, as Youngkin declared Saturday the dawn of a “new and better day” for the commonwealth.

“My fellow Virginians,” he stated, “the spirit of Virginia is alive and well. And together, we will strengthen it. Together, we’ll renew the promise of Virginia so it will be the best place to live, work, and raise a family. No matter who you voted for, I pledge to be your advocate, your voice, your governor.”

 

Given the polarizing state of politics today, the governor stressed unity as the better path forward.

“Our politics have become too toxic. Sound bites have replaced solutions — taking precedence over good-faith problem-solving,” Youngkin said.

“Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the ability to show respect to one another. To disagree without being disagreeable,” he added. “We are one Virginia. We are all sailing in the same boat. … What we can do together is truly limitless.”

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Melissa Fine

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