New Virginia Gov. Signs 11 EOs Including on Mask Mandates, CRT Ban, & Loudon County Rape Incident

© AP Photo / Julio CortezGlenn Youngkin gestures after he was sworn in as Virginia's 74th governor during an inauguration ceremony, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022
Glenn Youngkin gestures after he was sworn in as Virginia's 74th governor during an inauguration ceremony, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.01.2022
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In November of last year, Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin won the gubernatorial election in Virginia, a state which in recent years has tended to support the Democrats. The new governor campaigned with an articulate programme, mostly focused on racial issues and mask mandates, that had attracted voters disappointed by Democratic governance.
New Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, inaugurated on Saturday, has signed 11 decrees on his first day in office, halting the implementation of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools and allowing parents to decide on whether their children wear masks.
According to a statement by the governor, the 11 executive actions are meant to:
1. Restore excellence in education by ending the use of divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, in public education.
CRT became one of Youngkin's key campaign issues as many parents complained about schools where CRT was supposedly included in the curriculum. The new governor had earlier promised to give parents broader rights to decide what is taught to their children.
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"In the immortal words of Dr Martin Luther King Jr., we're called to judge one another based on the content of our character and not the colour of our skin", Youngkin said in October. "And that's why there's no place for Critical Race Theory in our school system, and why, on day one, I'm going to ban it".
2. 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 office of Youngkin's predecessor Ralph Northamn had earlier stated that lifting the mandate would be in violation of a state law passed last year by the General Assembly, leaving the new decree vulnerable to lawsuits.
3. Restore integrity and confidence in the Parole Board of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
4. Investigate wrongdoing in Loudoun County.
An incident involving a nonbinary teenager who was convicted of raping two girls in different schools has shocked the state after investigators revealed the district reportedly covered up the crime which resulted in one of the alleged victim's parents being arrested at a school board meeting.
5. Make government work for Virginians by creating the Commonwealth Chief Transformation Officer.
6. Declare Virginia open for business.
7. Combat and prevent human trafficking and provide support to survivors.
8. Establish a commission to combat anti-Semitism.
9. Withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
The governor also signed two executive directives meant to:
10. Jumpstart the state's economy by cutting "job-killing" regulations by 25 percent.
11. Restore individual freedoms and personal privacy by rescinding the vaccine mandate for all state employees.
Aside from that, during his inaugural speech, the governor demonstrated a non-partisan approach in dealing with problems and called for restoring trust in government and returning power to the people.

"No matter who you voted for, I pledge to be your advocate, your voice, your governor", he said outside the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.

The governor also said in his address that he won't allow schools to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We know that when our children don't go to school it harms their learning and development. So let me be clear - we must keep our children in school 5 days a week", he said.

Youngkin, a 54-year-old investment banker with no political experience, beat Democrat Terry McAuliffe by a 2.5 percent margin during the November elections in Virginia, a state that has had Democratic governors since 2009. According to pre-election polls, Youngkin managed to garner support from independent voters who were alienated by Donald Trump's 2020 presidential campaign style. At the same time, the outcome of these elections has been seen as a referendum on President Joe Biden's performance and a possible precursor for the upcoming midterm elections.
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