Among the new measures the Youngkin administration announced were the formal removal of mask mandates (which had been only loosely enforced in many parts of the state), an investigation of woke school officials in Loudoun County, and mass firings in the formerly radicalized attorney general’s office.
In total, Youngkin reportedly signed 11 executive actions fulfilling campaign-trail promises, Richmond’s NBC 12 reported.
Youngkin’s inauguration address was gracious, expressing his gratitude to ex-Gov. Ralph Northam and promoting efforts to bridge the growing partisan rift.
“My fellow Virginians, I come to this moment, and to this office, knowing we must bind the wounds of division, restore trust, find common cause for the common good, and strengthen the spirit of Virginia,” Youngkin said in his speech.
“No matter who you voted for, I pledge to be your advocate, your voice, your governor,” he added.
But Youngkin’s actions, including action on controversial Critical Race Theory, likely helped assuage the worries of many who have feared he will pivot hard to the center after benefiting from a wave of conservative outrage.
Leftist media and NeverTrump Republicans made hay of his refusal to take the bait of Democrat challenger Terry McAuliffe.
The former Clinton surrogate and Democratic National Committee chair made linking former President Donald Trump the centerpiece of his campaign for re-election after a four-year statutorily mandated gap.
Youngkin roiled leftists by nominating former Trump official Andrew Wheeler, who led the Environmental Protection Agency, to be his new environmental chief.
The second and third in command of the commonwealth also came out swinging.
New Attorney General Jason Miyares release some 30 appointees of his radical leftist predecessor, Mark Herring.
“During the campaign, it was made clear that now Attorney General-elect Miyares and Attorney General Herring have very different visions for the office,” spokesperson Victoria LaCivita told the Richmond Times–Dispatch. “We are restructuring the office, as every incoming AG has done in the past.”
Among the newly unemployed was Helen Hardiman, an assistant attorney general with Virginia’s Office of Civil Rights who focuses on investigating and litigating housing discrimination.
“My biggest heartburn right now is I have 20 court cases,” Hardiman complained to the Times–Dispatch.
Herring’s office implemented a practice of selective prosecution, refusing to pursue many of the cases opened by his predecessor, Ken Cuccinelli, when he took over the state’s top law-enforcement spot eight years ago.
After a blackface scandal that ensnared both Northam and Herring, the administration, which ran a centrist campaign, undertook a radical transformation of the once reliably red state that included tearing down many of its Confederate monuments and establishing a new statewide diversity office.
Despite Northam’s lip-service to diversity, Youngkin noted in his address that administration—including Miyares, a Latino, and Jamaican-born black Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, reflected actual diversity.
On Inauguration Day, the most diverse leadership in Commonwealth history stood together in prayer. Today, we sent a message to all Virginians that our Commonwealth is big enough for all of our hopes and dreams. pic.twitter.com/COwaICMsqj
— Glenn Youngkin (@GlennYoungkin) January 15, 2022