Republican Glenn Youngkin sworn in as Virginia 74th governor

Jan 14, 2022, 8:01 AM | Updated: Jan 16, 2022, 9:10 am
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, sporting a cowboy hat, gestures as he speaks to the crowd during an i...

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, sporting a cowboy hat, gestures as he speaks to the crowd during an inaugural celebration Saturday Jan. 15, 2022, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Striking a tone of bipartisanship and optimism, Virginia’s new governor, Glenn Youngkin, pledged to “restore trust in government and to restore power to the people” after he was sworn in to office Saturday.

“Today we stand together on behalf of Virginians who’ve never lost faith, even when they suffered loss. Of Virginians who have not stopped dreaming of a better life, even in the midst of trials and tribulation,” he said in front of the historic state Capitol to thousands of enthusiastic spectators. “My fellow Virginians, the spirit of Virginia is alive and well. And together we will strengthen it.”

“No matter who you voted for, I pledge to be your advocate, your voice, your governor,” said the Republican, a former private equity executive and newcomer to politics.

Youngkin’s inaugural speech was part of a weekend of pomp and circumstance in Richmond as Virginia’s newly elected GOP leaders took office. Attorney General Jason Miyares and Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears also were sworn in during the outdoor ceremony.

The moment opened a new chapter of governance in a state where Democrats had spent the past two years in full control of government and occupied the governor’s mansion for the past eight.

Youngkin acknowledged the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, including the more than 15,000 Virginians who have died, and pledged to lead the state to a “new and better day.” While Youngkin encourages those eligible to get vaccinated, among his first acts as governor was ending a vaccine requirement for state workers.

He also sounded his campaign themes, pledging to cut taxes, “remove politics from the classroom,” raise teacher and law enforcement pay, and boost the economy. As omicron infections fill hospitals with unvaccinated patients in Virginia and around the country, he vowed to keep children in schools, emphasizing the importance of in-person education and acknowledging the toll virtual schooling has taken on working parents, especially mothers.

“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 five days a week,” he said.

References to Virginia’s long history and America’s Founding Fathers were woven through the address, but Youngkin also acknowledged the country’s “chapters of great injustice.”

He credited “barrier-breakers” like former Gov. Doug Wilder, the nation’s first elected Black governor, with leading the way for the inauguration of Miyares and Earle-Sears, who both made history themselves. Miyares is first Latino to serve in the position and Earle-Sears is the first woman of color to serve in a statewide office.

Youngkin said their election showed that “Virginia is big enough for the hopes and dreams of a diverse people.”

Shortly before the ceremony began, Virginia’s former governors met with Youngkin and outgoing Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam inside the Capitol. Every living governor but Youngkin’s opponent in last year’s election, Terry McAuliffe, was in attendance. McAuliffe tweeted that he and his wife were “quarantining due to a close COVID contact in the interest of health and safety” and wished Youngkin well.

Youngkin, Northam and their wives — Suzanne Youngkin and Pam Northam — also participated in a cordial Executive Mansion key exchange ceremony. Northam, who like all Virginia governors was prohibited from seeking a second consecutive term, assured Youngkin that the key card he handed over still worked, despite having been chewed up by the family’s dog, Pearl.

Youngkin is the state’s 74th governor and the first Republican to hold the office since Bob McDonnell left it in 2014.

The 55-year-old former collegiate basketball player, who accumulated a personal fortune during a career at the Carlyle Group, defeated McAuliffe last year in part by seizing on parental frustrations about school closures and references to race in classrooms. While Donald Trump endorsed him, the former president never campaigned with him, enabling Youngkin to mobilize the GOP base without turning off suburban voters in a state that has long trended blue.

Voters also elected a GOP majority to the House of Delegates, leaving the Democrats with just a narrow 21-19 majority in the state Senate as a check on Republican ambitions. Earle-Sears will preside over that chamber, with the ability to cast tie-breaking votes.

Senate Democrats congratulated the governor and said they look forward to working with him but signaled their willingness to fight to protect their party’s achievements.

“Let me be clear: Senate Democrats have no intention rolling back two years of tremendous progress for all Virginians — not only a select few,” caucus chair Mamie Locke said in a statement.

Saturday’s ceremony included a traditional blessing of the ground by representatives of Virginia’s Indian tribes, and a prayer led by Youngkin, who made his Christian faith a key part of his campaign.

A celebratory parade kicked off after the ceremony. Youngkin then headed to his Capitol office, where he signed nine executive orders and two executive directives covering a range of topics, from ending the vaccine requirement to establishing a commission on human trafficking. He also ordered Virginia’s removal from a carbon cap-and-trade program, a move whose full implications were not immediately clear.

The appointments of his cabinet secretaries, who took their oaths of office at the Executive Mansion, remain contingent on legislative approval, with at least one opposed by many Senate Democrats.

Saturday’s planned festivities included a large downtown party featuring the Zac Brown Band in lieu of what’s typically a more formal affair. Attendees were encouraged to wear patriotic colors, cowboy boots or a “Glenn vest,” like the red fleece type the candidate favored while campaigning.

Youngkin also helped Friday to landscape an area along the Richmond Slave Trail, which commemorates how the city became a major hub in the trading of enslaved people before the Civil War. He also took part in a $10,000-a-ticket candlelit black-tie reception held at a science museum Friday evening.

A prayer breakfast preceded the inauguration Saturday morning, and the weekend was scheduled to wrap up Sunday with an open house at the Executive Mansion.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Pope Francis holds the sacred host as he celebrates mass to mark the day of the Word of God, in St....
Associated Press

Pope calls for day of prayer for peace for Ukraine

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday expressed his concern over “rising tensions” in Ukraine that threaten peace, and called for political talks that put at the center “human brotherhood instead of partisan interests.” “I am following with concern the rising tensions that threaten to inflict a new blow to peace in Ukraine, and […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Texas deputy fatally shot at traffic stop; gunman took off

HOUSTON (AP) — A constable deputy died Sunday after a driver fired multiple shots at him during an early morning traffic stop and then took off, authorities in Texas said. Harris County Precinct 5 Constable Ted Heap identified the fallen deputy as Cpl. Charles Galloway, 47, at a news conference. Houston police will handle the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

2 Pakistani fishermen drown, 10 missing after boats sink

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Three fishing boats sank off Pakistan’s coast in stormy weather, drowning at least two fishermen and causing 10 others to go missing, as navy and maritime security vessels rescued 32 fishermen, a district official said Sunday. The boats sank Saturday in the Arabian Sea near the coastal town of Keti Bunder. […]
1 day ago
A man wearing a face mask to help protect against COVID-19 prepares to eat noodles on the street of...
Associated Press

Beijing district orders mass virus testing ahead of Olympics

BEIJING (AP) — People in a Beijing district with some 2 million residents were ordered Sunday to undergo mass coronavirus testing following a series of infections as China tightened anti-disease controls ahead of the Winter Olympics. The government told people in areas of the Chinese capital deemed at high risk for infection not to leave […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

French adventurer dies attempting solo Atlantic crossing

LE PECQ, France (AP) — A 75-year-old French adventurer has died on a solo attempt to row across the Atlantic Ocean. The death of Jean-Jacques Savin was announced by his friends on a Facebook page that had been chronicling his voyage. They said maritime rescue services located his body on Saturday inside the cabin of […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

UK lawmaker claims she was fired over her Muslim faith

LONDON (AP) — A former minister in Britain’s Conservative government says she was told her Muslim faith was a reason she was fired, a claim that has deepened the rifts roiling Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s governing party. Former transport minister Nusrat Ghani told the Sunday Times that when she was demoted in 2020, a government […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Republican Glenn Youngkin sworn in as Virginia 74th governor