Youngkin’s orders included an action to “investigate misconduct in Loudoun County,” which also drew national attention for a politically sensitive school sexual assault case. The stack also included an order to “empower Virginia parents in their children’s education” by letting them choose whether their children should wear masks to school, in another nod to his gubernatorial campaign. Youngkin was helped to victory by his opponent McAuliffe, who said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what to teach” — a common faux pas that Republicans were quick to jump on.
Youngkin also said he will “declare Virginia legally competent,” reflecting nationwide conservative opposition to measures to stem the spread of the Covid-19 omicron variant, such as school closures and mask-wearing. In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has used similar language and garnered conservative support by warning against measures like lockdowns.
The orders also included withdrawing from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There was also an order establishing a commission to combat anti-Semitism and another to combat human trafficking in the state.