by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Something unusual is happening: A politician is keeping his campaign promises.
Republican Glenn Youngkin was elected governor of Virginia in November, and he took office on Saturday. In his inaugural address, he reiterated many of the promises he made on the campaign trail. He affirmed the goodness of the American Founding. He said children should be in school, in person, five days per week. He said parents should have a say in education. He said he would cut taxes. He said he would make sure law enforcement is fully funded and supported.
And then — this is the crazy part — he started actually doing those things.
In a flurry of executive orders on his first day in office, Youngkin created a carveout from local mask mandates in K–12 schools for parents who don’t want their kids to mask, prohibited critical race theory in K–12 education, and ordered the attorney general to investigate sexual assaults in Loudoun County Public Schools. He fired every member of the Virginia Parole Board (which had been mired in scandal) and appointed new members “to restore integrity and confidence” in the criminal-justice system. He withdrew Virginia from a regional green-energy initiative that was increasing electricity prices.
Then he addressed a joint session of the Virginia General Assembly to introduce his legislative priorities. He said he’d veto any legislation that would reverse Virginia’s status as a right-to-work state. He wants Virginia’s sales tax on groceries to be eliminated and wants the standard deduction for income taxes to be increased. He wants more state aid to local police departments. He also emphasized two issues progressives claim to support — an increase in teacher pay and reducing water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.