Youngkin Signs Several Executive Orders on His First Day in Office

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Kate Magee Joyce

Gov. Youngkin speaks with individuals during his campaign for the November Virginia Gubernatorial Election.

Glenn Youngkin (R) was inaugurated into office on January 15, after winning the Virginia Gubernatorial Election against Terry McAuliffe (D). Within hours, Gov.Youngkin signed 11 executive orders, including a controversial executive order that removes the mask mandate in schools.
Executive Order 1, in Gov. Youngkin’s words, is a “promise to restore excellence in education by ending the use of divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, in public education” (governor.virginia.gov). Critical Race Theory was one of the biggest issues in the November election. “Simply put, Critical Race Theory states that U.S. social institutions (e.g., the criminal justice system, education system, labor market, housing market, and healthcare system) are laced with racism embedded in laws, regulations, rules, and procedures that lead to differential outcomes by race” (Why are states banning critical race theory?).
Factually, Executive Order 2 is the most controversial out of the eleven. It states that the mask mandate in schools has ended, and that this order will take effect on January 24. This executive order bans the mask mandate in schools, as one of Gov. Youngkin’s main points in the November election was that parents should be able to choose what happens to their children in school. Several counties have defied this ban, and 13 parents from Chesapeake are suing Gov. Youngkin for enacting an illegal executive order.
Other executive orders can be found here: https://www.governor.virginia.gov/news-releases/2022/january/name-918519-en.html
Executive Directive 2 was the final order signed by Gov. Youngkin on day one. It “restore[d] individual freedoms and personal privacy by rescinding the vaccine mandate for all state employees” (governor.virginia.gov). The vaccine mandate is an entirely other debate, that was a huge point in the November election.
Gov. Youngkin has taken steps towards the promises he made during his campaign, but still has his term to do what he believes will help the State of Virginia.