Glenn Youngkin sworn in as Virginia's first GOP governor since 2009

Glenn Youngkin was sworn in Saturday at the Virginia state capitol in Richmond. Photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor
1 of 2 | Glenn Youngkin was sworn in Saturday at the Virginia state capitol in Richmond. Photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor

Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Glenn Youngkin was sworn in Saturday as Virginia's first Republican governor in over a decade.

Thousands saw Youngkin, 55, take the oath of office at the state capitol in Richmond as Virginia's 74th governor and first Republican to win statewide office in the state since 2009.


A wealthy private equity executive who had no prior political experience, Youngkin rode a wave of GOP turnout in November to a narrow victory, also helping Republicans regain a majority in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Youngkin, backed by former President Donald Trump, upset Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who was Virginia's governor from 2014 to 2018.

"No matter who you voted for, I pledge to be your advocate, your voice, your governor," Youngkin said in his inaugural speech. "Our politics have become too toxic. Soundbites have replaced solutions, taking precedence over good-faith problem solving."

A parade followed the swearing in ceremony, after which Youngkin signed 11 executive actions, WDBJ-TV reported.

A few items on the list of executive orders signed included ending so-called critical race theory in public education, banning mask mandates in public schools and a promise to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative, which aimed to reduce emissions.


Others items included a promise to declare Virginia "open for business," a measure establishing a commission to combat antisemitism and an order aimed at preventing human trafficking and providing support to survivors.

Youngkin also promised to investigate alleged wrongdoing in Loudoun County, apparently referring to a controversy over the school system's handling of sexual assault allegations in two schools, The Washington Post reported.

Also Saturday, the new governor issued an executive directive rescinding a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for state employees.

Youngkin replaced Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who was ineligible for reelection because Virginia's constitution prohibits any governor from serving consecutive terms.

McAuliffe tweeted that he and his wife, Dorothy, had planned to be at the swearing-in ceremony but had to quarantine due to a close contact with someone with COVID-19.

"We wish Glenn Youngkin and the new administration well today as they start their term!" McAuliffe wrote.

Northam and his wife, Pam, handed Youngkin the plastic key card to the governor's mansion ahead of the swearing in ceremony, apologizing that one of the family dogs, Pearl, had chewed it.

"I can promise you that it still works," Northam said.


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