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Governor-elect Youngkin shares day-one agenda

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 6:01 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) is set to be sworn in Saturday, January 15.

NBC29 asked Youngkin how he will respond to issues impacting the commonwealth.

The omicron variant of COVID-19 is driving up hospitalizations throughout Virginia, and many schools are increasing mitigation strategies. Despite this, Youngkin says he will still be rescinding the mask mandate in schools, as well as the vaccine requirement for state employees.

“On day one, we will in fact rescind the executive order that requires schools, K-through-12, to have kids all wear masks. So we’ll rescind that on day one, and we’ll also rescind the executive order that requires state employees to get a vaccine and wear a mask,” Youngkin said.

He says safety is still important: “We’re going to continue to be a very strong voice, a loud voice, on encouraging people to get the vaccine,” Youngkin said. “We think it’s the best way for people to stay safe, but also we’re going to respect people’s ability to make that decision for themselves.”

Data from the Virginia Department of Health Thursday, Jan. 13, shows a total of 228,432 COVID-19 cases for those up to the age of 19, with 1,296 hospitalizations, and 17 deaths. The number of fully vaccinated children aged 5-17 is currently 706,714.

Youngkin also laid out some of his other goals for the next six months: “We’re going to eliminate the grocery tax. We’re going to double the standard deduction. We’re going to declare a very, very large, largest in history tax rebate for Virginians. I’m going to go to work for our veterans to get their taxes down. We’re going to reestablish excellence in schools,” he said.

Youngkin says that includes create a large education budget: “I was very encouraged that Governor Northam included in his budget proposal a number of elements of our day-one agenda,” he said.

While he and Governor Ralph Northam (D) agree on increasing teacher pay, Youngkin says there are also other priorities. He says he wants to bring more charter schools to public schools, too.

“We’re going to get politics out of the classroom, and we’re going to make sure that our kids are prepared so they are either college-ready or career-ready. We’re going to work hard to push forward initiatives to make our community safe again,” Youngkin said.

When asked if these goals are achievable early on, Youngkin said they are going to work day one.

“We’re pressing forward to have the best jobs, the best schools, the safest communities, a lower cost of living and a government that works for Virginians,” he said.

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