Virginia GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin told Breitbart News exclusively that “getting it done” and putting wins on the scoreboard are the core ethos of his administration five months in.
“It’s all about results,” Youngkin told Breitbart News in a phone interview. “People make a lot of promises, and I’m maniacally focused and our administration is maniacally focused on delivering results. When I make a promise to somebody and our administration makes a promise to somebody, we’re going to work to deliver. I think we’re reestablishing trust in government in Virginia. It’s more than just a bunch of empty promises. It is proven results. That’s what I’m most proud of in this first five months.
“We talked about empowering parents, and we have. We talked about cutting taxes, and we have—$4 billion. We talked about backing the blue and standing up for law enforcement, and we are. We talked about making education a primary focus to reestablish excellence in our schools and we are so delivering on that front. Finally, that we can grow jobs, and we can make Virginia, which should be, a great place for companies to grow. This is about getting it done. It’s talking about getting it done together. There’s a lot of people locking arms. I’m just excited that we built a team. We see Virginians coming together, not just Republicans, but Virginians coming together, and we’re delivering.”
Youngkin, who shocked the world last year when he defeated former Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the gubernatorial election, handing the state’s leadership to Republicans for the first time in years, has done exactly that since taking office. One of the biggest actions Youngkin has taken is ordering state police in Virginia to assist with security of U.S. Supreme Court Justices who live there—three of them live in his state—something he did long before the U.S. Congress and Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration stepped up to provide additional security for Justices. In the aftermath earlier this year of the leak of a draft opinion of a Supreme Court ruling expected to overturn Roe v. Wade, leftist protesters targeted Justices at their homes—and later a man was arrested and charged with attempted murder of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who lives in neighboring Maryland. While the Biden White House, Justice Department, and congressional Democrats originally downplayed the protests at Justices’ homes, Youngkin jumped into action long before these apparent threats played out, and ordered a robust law enforcement response.
“This leak was done in order to cause chaos—and it did,” Youngkin told Breitbart News. “The whole purpose was to encourage people to parade and picket to try to intimidate and influence justices—and that’s wrong. It’s just flat wrong, and to do it in front of their homes is just unfathomable. We know that it puts their lives at risk because we see what happened with the murder attempt on Justice Kavanaugh. I’ve been worried about their families, I’ve been worried about their neighbors. And by the way, I’m worried about the protesters because we should keep them safe too. That’s why I’ve been so focused on not just politely requesting but imploring that U.S. Attorney General [Merrick] Garland enforce the law. There’s a federal statute that says that if you parade or picket in front of a Justice’s home in order to try to influence them, which is exactly what this is, that is punishable with up to a year in prison. These folks, he should arrest these people and put them in prison. He should. It’s just wrong.
“So we have recognized that—and I will say both [Maryland GOP] Governor Larry Hogan and I recognized early on, that we were going to need to turn up the pressure in order to try to keep our Justices safe and keep their neighborhoods safe and keep people safe. I’m very concerned about their safety. We have substantial resources from our state police within very close proximity of the Justices. I speak to them frequently in order to make sure that they know that we are standing up for them and going to work to protect them.
“This is a tough time. I think after the Justice Kavanaugh incident it became very clear. If anybody was doubting the fact that these Justices’ lives are in danger, they had underestimated it and underestimated things. I’m continuing to be very focused on this. We continue to dedicate substantial resources in order to keep our Justices safe.”
It’s not just Supreme Court justices who are safer in Youngkin’s Virginia than they were when Democrats ruled the Old Dominion. Youngkin’s budget, just signed, deliberately spends more on law enforcement. It allots $45 million to fund additional school resource officers, $13 million on violence prevention grants, $400 million on compensation and for raises for law enforcement and public safety officials, and prevents early release of more than 500 violent inmates in Virginia prisons. Asked about this, Youngkin said the Democrat policies he inherited have led to 20-year highs in murder rates across Virginia—so he has focused on increasing law enforcement resources and channeling them to fight the rising crime through things like the Violent Crime Task Force he established in May.
“We’ve seen the murder rate in Virginia escalate at an extraordinary pace; we’re at a 20-year high in the murder rate,” Youngkin said. “It has everything to do with the demeaning of law enforcement and the depletion of resources that we have seen under the previous administration. I’ve just got to put a stop to it. So we are backing the blue.
“I think it’s incredibly important that we provide the resources to provide provide raises that have never been seen before—raises of this magnitude for law enforcement—$100 million for training and for equipment and oh, by the way, yes, community programs to bring law enforcement and communities together. That is incredibly important.
“I do believe that one of the most important areas for us to double down on our staffing is in school resource officers in schools. No parent in Virginia should worry that their child gets home safely at the end of the day, and this is why this was such a priority for us. Virginians elected us and sent us to Richmond to accomplish a very straightforward agenda. One of the key elements of that was to go to work to make our communities safer. We’ve now got the resources to do that. We continue to focus with our Violent Crime Task Force in collaborating with jurisdictions with local resources, state resources, and federal resources to do exactly that: Make Virginia’s communities safe again.”
If there was a single issue Youngkin was most known for it was his focus on education during the campaign in 2021—and that’s another place where Youngkin is proud of his actions so far five months into his administration. In February, he signed into law legislation that allowed parents to opt their children out of mask mandates in schools in Virginia. His recently signed budget includes 10 percent pay raises for teachers, and overall boosts education spending in Virginia by an additional $3.2 billion to the highest amount in the state’s history, adding much emphasis on specific policy outcomes like promoting lab schools and, more broadly, school choice.
“If people have noticed, parents matter in Virginia,” Youngkin told Breitbart News. “Right out of the box, we went to work to re-empower parents in their children’s education by affirming their right to decide whether their child will wear a mask or not to school. If there’s explicit materials, I want parents to know and let them decide whether they want those in their child’s curriculum or not. Then all the way through to the budget, where in fact this record level of spending in Virginia schools does exactly what you described: it provides teacher raises that are much needed, allows us to invest in crumbling infrastructure. It provides a full funding for our tax credit program for our scholarship tax credit driven program to provide choice for Virginia families. It provides $100 million for lab schools, which are going to be specially designed schools that provide Virginia’s kids multiple pathways within the public school system and gives parents and kids a choice to go there.”
Youngkin expects the trend where Republicans are winning on education to continue in this year’s midterm elections.
“This is all about reaffirming what we know, which is high expectations for schools, high expectations for our kids, building in parent decision-making into our school system, and providing avenues for choice within the school system,” Youngkin said. “It’s all coming together to provide Virginia parents and families the best education possible. This was at the absolute center of last year’s campaign. And oh, by the way, that became a movement that spread across Virginia and across the country. I think that movement is exactly what’s fueling the nation’s desire to elect Republicans this year. I think we’re going to see a massive, massive red wave across Virginia and across the nation this year.”
Youngkin’s advice to fellow Republicans running in House, Senate, and governor races nationwide this year on how to focus on education is to first explain the failures of the left and then detail how Republicans will fix the schools for parents and children.
“First, recognize that the left liberal progressive education agenda is failing America’s kids—failing America’s kids—and to have low expectations for our children and not hold schools accountable has proven to be an absolute failed set of policies that hurts our children,” Youngkin said when asked for his advice. “Therefore the Republican agenda, which is absolutely straightforward, is empower parents. Yes, support teachers and facilities, provide choice within the public school system, provide tax credits to provide choice and through scholarships for kids recognize that there are multiple pathways for America’s kids that don’t require them to immediately go to a four-year college and incur $50,000, $60,000 or $70,000 of debt. But in fact they can be prepared for life through associate’s degrees and credentialing right out of high school, they can go right to work in work-study programs.
“This is the future where we provide Virginia’s kids and America’s kids multiple pathways to success. I think that this is at the core of the Republican message this year, that was at the core of our message last year. This was not Republicans versus Democrats that we saw—we saw Virginians come together. Virginians—independents, Democrats, and Republicans—recognized that there had to be a better way. There had to be a better way to educate our children and to prepare them for life than what we were seeing in our schools.”
Perhaps most interesting about Youngkin’s administration is that while he is increasing spending on social issues that matter like education and public safety, he is cutting spending and taxes—a departure from traditional old-school establishment Republicans and an embrace of the new era of populism popularized by former President Donald Trump. Youngkin’s budget, which he just signed, provides $4 billion in tax relief to Virginians—the largest amount in the state’s history—while eliminating a 1.5 percent state grocery tax, almost doubling the state’s standard income tax deduction, and giving every Virginia taxpayer a rebate between $250 and $500, among other things. Asked about this, Youngkin said Virginians crave “transparency” in a state he believes has “overtaxed” them.
“It starts with transparency in the way that Virginia has overtaxed Virginians and driven up the cost of living to the point well beyond what is needed,” Youngkin said. “It’s Virginians’ money, not government’s money. So by shining a bright light on this over-taxation and recognizing that we can have record tax cuts and make those crucial investments in education and in law enforcement and behavioral health, we can do both. I think this is a moment where my business training and the way I just know how to tackle particularly financial issues just gave me a real keen insight into this opportunity. We brought great people around us and work extraordinarily well with our Republican-led House of Delegates, and particularly Perry Knight who’s the chair of our Appropriations Committee and our Speaker of the House, Todd Gilbert. We came together, and were able to absolutely deliver on a time where we have surpluses that should be given back to Virginians and get invested in those most critical things. It’s a unique moment and we’re taking full advantage of it in order to drive forward an agenda that brings down the cost of living and invests in those critical services.”
All of this has led to an environment this year that has attracted major companies to invest in Virginia. Youngkin is particularly proud of Boeing and Raytheon moving to the state, and LEGO building its U.S. manufacturing hub in Virginia as well.
“On day one, I declared Virginia open for business,” Youngkin said. “We have an amazing cabinet and an amazing set of leaders throughout our administration focused on making Virginia the most business-friendly state in America. It just had not been that. Lo and behold, when you bring together lower taxes and great education and a focus on safe communities and an effort to cut regulations and make us even more business-friendly, companies want to come to Virginia. With Boeing and Raytheon moving their global headquarters from high tax jurisdictions like Chicago and Massachusetts, and high crime jurisdictions like Chicago, to Virginia, it’s just a huge statement. For Lego, to pick their sole place for their U.S. manufacturing in Virginia with a $1 billion investment and 1,700 new jobs, to basically stake their claim in North America in Virginia, it just speaks to the fact that companies want what Virginia has to offer. We’ve got to go compete, we’ve got to compete to get it; it doesn’t just show up. Virginia is learning how to compete and we’re learning how to win.”
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