Glenn Youngkin has been sworn in as Virginia’s governor

Glenn Youngkin was sworn in Saturday as Virginia’s 74th governor at a midday inauguration ceremony in Richmond.

The former private equity director and the first Republican to win a state-owned office in Virginia since 2009 had a message of unity in his speech to the crowd gathered in front of the Virginia State Capitol.

“My colleagues in Virginia, I come to this moment in this office knowing that we must find the wounds of division, restore trust, find common cause for the common good, and strengthen the spirit of Virginia,” he said. “The spirit of Virginia is not a spirit resting in government that tells us what is best for us, but rather reflects the will of the people, defends and protects the rights guaranteed by our Constitution.”

Mr. Youngkin’s popularity led Republicans to a majority in Virginia’s House of Delegates. Democrats remain in control of the state Senate. He succeeds incumbent Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

Mr. Youngkin’s race against Democrat Terry McAuliffe led to massive GOP turnout at the polls in November, confirming Mr. Youngkins wins from behind in a state that President Biden had by 10 percentage points in 2020.

Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate who intend to turn control over Congress in favor of the GOP remain hopeful that Mr. Youngkin’s rise to the governor’s mansion is a warning of what is to happen in the 2022 interim period.

Mr. Youngkin, a political outsider before joining the race, overcame Mr. McAulife’s significant support from Democratic heavyweights to secure the election.

President Biden campaigned on behalf of Mr. McAuliffe as November approached, but failed to ultimately spur democratic enthusiasm. Mr. McAuliffe partly accused Mr. Biden’s inadequate performance for his defeat.

Mr. McAuliffe tried to revive the anti-Trump rhetoric that drove incumbent Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to victory in 2017. But with Mr. Trump out of the White House dropped the message flat.

Sir. Youngkin held the former president at arm’s length after receiving his approval, chose not to campaign with Mr. Trump and fully refused to embrace Mr. Trump’s allegations that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Mr. Youngkin underscored local problems and exploited parents’ growing frustration with education officials as debates over critical race theory and COVID-19 restrictions in Virginia schools made national headlines.

Throughout the race, the two graduates sparred over the role parents have in their children’s education.

Mr. Youngkin spoke for the role of parents in shaping the curriculum, while Mr. McAuliffe argued that teachers and school leaders should have the last word.

Mr. McAuliffe sealed his fate in the concluding debate when he said, “I do not think parents should tell schools what to teach,” a line that continued to be highlighted in Mr. Youngkins Campaign Ads.

The debate on education was highlighted in Mr. Youngkins speech Saturday.

“Parents should have an influence on what is taught in schools,” he said. “In Virginia, parents have a fundamental right to make decisions about their child’s upbringing, education and care. To parents, I say we respect you and we want to empower you in the education of your children.”

“We want to remove politics from the classroom,” Mr. Youngkin. “And we want to focus on essential math, science and reading, and we want to teach our whole story – the good and the bad.”

Kerry Picket, Mica Soellner and Seth McLaughlin contributed to this report.

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