RICHMOND, Virginia — Supporters of Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) who attended his January 15 inauguration told Breitbart News that the Commonwealth needed a new direction after eight years of Democrat control in the Governor’s Mansion.
“Conservative values, bringing Virginia back to where it should be, and pro-business,” one voter gave as reasons for voting for Youngkin. Another said he hopes the new administration will bring Virginia out of pandemic protocols and open for business while addressing the education issue that many believe propelled Youngkin to victory.
“I voted my values,” a Richmond, Virginia, voter said. “I stand for life, I stand for liberty, and I stand for not killing babies in the womb.”
A common theme was the degradation of Virginia’s civic tradition — something Youngkin mentioned in his inaugural address by calling the Commonwealth the “home of American democracy,” but lamenting that “somewhere along the way we’ve lost the ability to show respect to one another. To disagree without being disagreeable.”
One voter told Breitbart News that she had been “scared” to say she is a Republican. “The last few years, I have not even talked about who I am voting for, why I’m voting for them, and I’m honestly tired of it.” Another voter described Virginians as typically “empathetic” people who “care about others.”
“After the past eight years, Virginians have finally realized that the Democrats are taking it in the wrong direction and now they want to change back to the right direction,” a Richmond resident said.
Youngkin on his first day in office issued 11 executive actions, many of which focused on education, business, and the coronavirus. He pledged to end the use of “divisive concepts” like critical race theory in schools, allow parents to make their own decisions on whether to mask their children — which has already received backlash from Democrat-controlled school districts — and promised to “restore individual freedoms and personal privacy by rescinding the vaccine mandate for all state employees.”
Former Virginia Gov. George Allen (R) told Breitbart News that “It’s a great day for Virginia” that Youngkin will be governor.
“There will be more opportunities, safer communities, better education in our schools, and we’re going to be ascending rather tan going over the cliff,” he concluded.
Watch:Matt Perdie / Breitbart News
And to many voters, “the real kicker was about education,” and they wanted policies to “take a bit of a different direction than the radical left.”
“I’ve got a daughter in the tenth grade here in the public school system, so [education] was a big deal for me. That was very important,” one Richmond resident said. “I think that the parents do need to be more involved and have a say in things they don’t agree with that are being taught in schools. I think it’s important that the parents are heard.”
“We’re seeing our kids espousing racist ideas,” a voter said referencing the implementation of the Marxist indoctrination scheme, critical race theory.
“We didn’t really have an option here in Virginia besides Glenn Youngkin,” another Richmond voter said. “We want something different, we want the best for Virginia, and Glenn Youngkin was the best option we had.”
As Virginia had not elected a Republican statewide since 2009, voters appeared cautiously optimistic about the political trajectory of the Commonwealth.
“I think Americans know their line, I think they’re sick and tired of the overreach,” one voter said, while another explained that “we’ve been kind of complacent for a long time, and I think people are ready to take the next step forward.”
While one voter told Breitbart News that he thinks “a lot of Virginians … still like the policies of the left, they like the ideas of the left … and those policies really make you feel like you’re caring,” he also explained that “once you start to see the effects, which is what we’re seeing now … then you start to see where your line is.”
“I know a lot of voters personally who never voted and have voted this year because they’ve seen the way that our state has gone,” another voter explained. “I think going forward, seeing this momentum, I think that we’re going to see Republicans stay on top.”
But the worry about Republican successes into the future remains the same as it has for decades: Northern Virginia’s Democrat stranglehold on the Commonwealth.
“If you carve out Northern Virginia, specifically Fairfax, then it would be a landslide for Youngkin,” one voter said.
“Thanks to Northern Virginia, they always mess us up, and we always probably would be conservative,” another told Breitbart News. “But, since everything was happening in Loudoun County with the school system, I think the parents really came together and said, ‘Hey, what the Democrats is doing is not really helping out future, it’s not really helping our children, so we have to do something different.”
This time, though, “Thanks to COVID, people did a lot of research, they didn’t allow the media to dictate what was actually going to happen, so that really made a difference.”
Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.