Saturday, May 27, 2023
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MCAULIFFE: ‘I Don’t Think Parents Should Be Telling Schools What They Should Teach’

Challenger Glenn Youngkin said he'd seen school systems 'refusing to engage with parents' over the past 20 months...'

(Headline USA) Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin clashed Tuesday evening over vaccinations, tax policy, education and their respective records in the second and final debate in Virginia‘s closely watched gubernatorial election.

McAuliffe raised eyebrows among those who seek to hold public schools and their leaders accountable when he said (see video clip above), “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

There has been an increasing outcry across the nation, including Virginia — most notably in left-leaning Loudoun County — over the teaching of the historically fraudulent critical race theory, as well as other liberal indoctrination efforts of children.

The debate quickly got off to a combative start and neither candidate let up over the course of the hour, with each accusing the other of lying to voters.

Five weeks from Election Day and with early voting already underway, recent polls suggest a tight race between McAuliffe, who is seeking a second term after his first ended in 2018, and Youngkin, a former business executive and political newcomer.

Democrats made huge gains in recent years due to the expansive growth of greater Washington DC into northern Virginia, taking full control of state government, but Republicans are more energized and optimistic about their chances this fall than they have been in years.

The contest, one of only two regularly scheduled governor’s races this year, is also drawing national attention as a possible indicator of voter sentiment heading into next year’s midterms.

The first question of the night dealt with the coronavirus pandemic, and the candidates maintained the positions they’ve consistently outlined on vaccine mandates, which McAuliffe generally supports and Youngkin does not.

“He wants employers to fire employees who don’t get the vaccine,” said Youngkin, who is vaccinated and said he believes everyone should get it.

McAuliffe called Youngkin’s position on the issue “disqualifying.”

MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, who served as moderator, pressed Youngkin on whether he believed getting vaccinated for “measles, mumps or rubella is a personal choice.”

Youngkin struggled to find his words for several seconds and then said: “I think that the data associated with those vaccines is something that we should absolutely understand the difference between this vaccine.”

When asked again, he said he thinks those vaccines “can be mandatory.”

McAuliffe, as he has throughout the campaign, consistently sought to tie Youngkin to Trump, who lost Virginia by 10 points. At one point he called Youngkin “bought and paid for” by the former president.

“There’s an over/under on how many times you’d say Donald Trump,” Youngkin responded. “You’re running against me. It’s Terry McAuliffe against Glenn Youngkin.”

In the night’s final question, Todd asked Youngkin if he would support Trump if he ran for president in 2024. Youngkin said, “If he’s the Republican nominee, I’ll support him.”

One of the event’s sharpest exchanges came during a question about the state’s historic $2.6 billion surplus, which Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has said is thanks to the state’s strong economic outlook but Youngkin has called the result of overtaxation.

Asked why some of that money shouldn’t be returned to taxpayers, as Youngkin has proposed, McAuliffe argued that the Republican’s “crazy” tax scheme would devastate Virginia’s economy and lead to cuts in public education.

“Revenue and expenses, I know were hard for you. I know they’re hard for you,” Youngkin, a former co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, shot back, to cheers from the audience. “At the end of the day, Terry, you have no idea what you’re talking about.”

On education, Youngkin said he’d seen school systems “refusing to engage with parents” over the past 20 months, citing as an example recent parental outrage in Fairfax County over books with explicit sexual content.

He knocked McAuliffe for vetoing a measure in 2017 known as the “Beloved” bill, after the Toni Morrison novel, that would have allowed parents to opt out of having their children study materials deemed sexually explicit.

Opponents of the measure criticized it as a form of censorship.

“I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” McAuliffe said.

Virginia does not allow its governors to serve consecutive terms, and McAuliffe is seeking a rare return after deciding against a run for president in 2020.

Also on the ballot this fall are races for attorney general and lieutenant governor, plus all 100 seats in the House of Delegates.

Election Day is Nov. 2, and the deadline to register to vote or update an existing registration is Oct. 12.

Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.

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