Virginia's new dream team goes to work on day one

Virginia's new governor Glenn Youngkin, lieutenant governor Winsome Sears, and attorney general Jason Miyares are moving fast on their first days in office.  Governor Youngkin issued eleven executive orders just after taking office at noon Saturday, including an end to the mask mandate in Virginia schools.

The order "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," Youngkin's office said in a news release.  Youngkin has also issued an order to "investigate wrong-doing in Loudoun County," presumably referring to a series of high-profile criminal cases involving students and staff.

On his first day, Virginia attorney general Jason Miyares has eliminated the Office of Civil Rights.  Miyares also announced he will prosecute criminal cases in jurisdictions in which Soros district attorneys decline to prosecute, and he has already opened investigations into Loudoun County Public Schools.

The school issue gained national attention last year following the arrest of a 14-year-old Loudoun County high school student charged with two counts of sexually assaulting a schoolmate in a bathroom.  That case sparked outrage among parents after the teen was moved to a new school and charged in a second sexual assault case — while wearing an ankle monitor.  The teen was recently sentenced in juvenile court.  The victim in the case is the daughter of a man arrested for disorderly conduct at a school board meeting earlier in the year when he tried to raise his daughter's plight and was summarily silenced.

Another executive order, and the first on Youngkin's list, is a promise to end the "use of divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, in public education," according to his office's press release.  CRT has become a hot-button political issue and a battle cry for Republicans, but local and state school officials in Virginia have insisted that the theory is not being taught in public schools.  If that's the case, their anger about the order is mystifying, to say the least.

Image: Glenn Younkin, Winsome Sears, Jason Miyares, all from Glenn Youngkin's Flickr stream; Virginia State Capitol by Martin Kraft.  CC BY-SA 3.0.

Virginia lt. gov.–elect Winsome Sears, the first non-white woman to be elected statewide in Virginia, insisted that Critical Race Theory doesn't need to be instituted in the state's public schools because it's already "woven" into the curriculum.  "I beg to differ that CRT is not taught" in Virginia public schools, she said.  "In 2015, former [Democratic] Gov. [Terry] McAuliffe, his state board of education had information on how to teach it, so it's weaved in."

Youngkin's other Day One executive orders include:

· A promise to restore integrity and confidence in the Parole Board of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

· A promise to make government work for Virginians by creating the Commonwealth Chief Transformation Officer.

· A promise to declare Virginia open for business.

· A promise to combat and prevent human trafficking and provide support to survivors.

· A promise to establish a commission to combat antisemitism.

· A promise to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

Youngkin also issued two executive directives, including a plan "to jumpstart our economy by cutting job-killing regulations by 25 percent" and a directive to rescind the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all state employees.

Although Trump had nothing to do with this election, it's apparent that Trumpism has infused courage into previously lackluster Republicans.

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