12 Jan 2022
The inauguration of Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin on Saturday will bring a new political landscape to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
“After eight long years for state Republicans, the new governor will have the opportunity to put his ideas for an economically prosperous, less regulated, better educated, and safer Virginia in place,” says Virginia Tech political expert Karen Hult.
Hult points to Youngkin’s early priorities that are likely to include:
1. State economy: emphasis on reducing taxes (end grocery tax, suspend gas tax for 12 months, support state income tax rebates), creating additional jobs by working to reduce regulation and improve state government economic development assistance
2. COVID-19: likely to reverse Northam requirement that most Virginia’s state workers must be vaccinated or subjected to regular COVID-19 tests; his opposition to mask mandates could lead him to reverse Gov. Northam’s public school mask mandate and encourage his Attorney General Jason Miyares to join other Republican-led states in judicial challenges to President Biden’s vaccine mandates.
3. Education: emphasis on expanding charter schools, reforming curriculum
4. Public safety: emphasis on additional funding for law enforcement, restructuring Parole Board, addressing difficulties in state mental health system
“Under the eyes of many in and out of the Commonwealth, Governor Youngkin may well be challenged by his and several of his senior advisors lack of experience in government, by a state senate controlled by Democrats, and by General Assembly members eyeing the new legislative districts in place for the 2023 elections,” says Hult.
“Meanwhile, of course, the new governor has both the luxury of the present state budget surplus and the looming difficulties of inflation and the moving target of responding to COVID-19.”
About Karen Hult
Virginia Tech political science professor Karen Hult teaches political science at Virginia Tech and its Center for Public Administration & Policy, with expertise in the U.S. Presidency and organizational and institutional theory.
To schedule an interview with Karen Hult, contact Shannon Andrea by email, or by phone at (703) 399-9494.
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