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On Day One, Virginia’s New Republican Governor Ends Mask and Vaccine Mandates – Mother Jones


On Day One, Virginia’s New Republican Governor Ends Mask and Vaccine Mandates – Mother Jones

Steve Helber/AP

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Glenn Youngkin, the first Republican governor of Virginia since 2014, is wasting no time enacting policies that will harm the state’s people of color. On Saturday, his first day in office, he signed 11 executive actions that, among other things, will make it harder for schools to teach kids about racism. The orders also scrap rules that slowed the spread of the coronavirus amid a pandemic that the state’s health department says has hit Black and brown families the hardest.

“The spirit of Virginia is alive and well,” Youngkin said in his inaugural address. “And together we will strengthen it. Together we’ll renew the promise of Virginia, so it will be the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

Youngkin, a political newcomer and former private equity executive, was endorsed by Donald Trump. His victory over Democrat Terry McAuliffe was one of the most closely watched elections since President Joe Biden took office, giving more power to Republicans in a swing state that, over the past two decades, has increasingly leaned Democratic.

Youngkin just signed executive order telling parents statewide they have a right to say whether or not their children wear a mask in school. @WTOP

— Nick Iannelli (@NickWTOP) January 15, 2022

Here’s a sampling of his day one executive actions:

Race in schools: To be clear, under the previous governor, Virginia schoolkids were not learning critical race theory, an academic theory developed in colleges and graduate schools that explores how systemic racism broadly infects US society. But that didn’t stop Youngkin from whipping up fear around CRT to mobilize the GOP base. On Saturday, he ordered state education officials to review and end any education policies, practices, or materials that endorse “inherently divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory.” He said “political indoctrination has no place in our classrooms.”

Masks in schools: Youngkin rescinded a…

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