The new Republican leadership in Virginia — Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, and Attorney General Jason Miyares — went scorched earth upon entering office, which officially happened Saturday.
Youngkin signed a host of executive orders fulfilling key campaign promises, while Miyares fired more than two dozen staff members in the AG’s office the day before taking office.
What did Youngkin do?
The new governor signed nine executive orders and two executive directives to address public education, COVID restrictions, the climate, and the economy.
The first order Youngkin signed “delivers on his Day One promise to restore excellence in education by ending the use of divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, in public education.”
“Political indoctrination has no place in our classrooms,” the order reads, in part. “Our children deserve far better from their education than to be told what to think. Instead, the foundation of our educational system should be built on teaching our students how to think for themselves. Virginia must renew its commitment to teaching our children the value of freedom of thought and diversity of ideas.”
The order explains:
The vast majority of learning in our schools involves imparting critical knowledge and skills in math, science, history, reading and other areas that should be non-controversial. Inherently divisive concepts, like Critical Race Theory and its progeny, instruct students to only view life through the lens of race and presumes that some students are consciously or unconsciously racist, sexist, or oppressive, and that other students are victims. This denies our students the opportunity to gain important facts, core knowledge, formulate their own opinions, and to think for themselves.
The second order empowers parents to decide whether their children wear face masks at school, the fourth order initiates an investigation into the alleged wrongdoing by the Loudoun County School Board regarding sexual assaults, the sixth order declares Virginia open for business, orders seven and eight address human trafficking and anti-Semitism, and order nine begins the process to withdraw Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
“It’s Day One, and we are going to work just like we promised,” Youngkin said in a statement.
What did Miyares do?
On Friday, Miyares informed 30 staff members in the Virginia attorney general’s office, including 17 attorneys, that they would not have a job in his office, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
“During the campaign, it was made clear that now Attorney General-elect Miyares and Attorney General Herring have very different visions for the office,” a spokeswoman for Miyares told the newspaper. “We are restructuring the office, as every incoming AG has done in the past.”
Miyares has pledged to be tough on crime.
“Virginia is in the middle of a public safety crisis. That’s why Virginians elected pro-law enforcement statewide officials, to end the criminal-first, victim-last policies that have led to Virginia’s highest murder rate in decades,” Miyares wrote in an essay last month.