GATE CITY, Va. (WJHL) — Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin brought his “Thank You” tour to the region Tuesday to thank voters in Southwest Virginia.
It was his first visit to our region since winning the closely contested election earlier this month.
Virginia politicians, law enforcement, business leaders and community members attended Youngkin’s rally at the Scott County Telephone Cooperative in Gate City.
“The sleeping giants of rural Virginia decided to show up in an off-year election and say to the folks in Richmond we are not gonna take this junk anymore,” said Rep. Morgan Griffith who represents Southwest Virginia.
Youngkin credits huge voter turnout in Southwest Virginia largely to his victory over Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the November 2 general election.
His win signifies a major change in power in Virginia as Republican candidates also secured the lieutenant governor and attorney general seats on Nov. 2. All three statewide offices were previously held by Democrats.
The Virginia House of Delegates also switched to majority Republican following Nov. 2 when all seats were up for re-election.
“I wanted to come say thank you,” Youngkin said. “Southwest Virginia really came together in this election like I don’t think has ever been seen before. We have been telling everybody, get out and vote, we can make a difference. And Southwest Virginia really delivered.”
Youngkin told a packed crowd of supporters at his rally that he is making education a top priority in his administration. He said he will end Virginia’s school mask mandate for kids and ban Critical Race Theory from being taught in Virginia schools.
“We want to make sure we are teaching our children how to think not what to think. We are gonna get politics out of the classroom,” said Youngkin. “First, schools will be open, and we’re going to raise expectations in schools. We’re going to sponsor funding in the largest education budget in the history of Virginia and raising teachers’ salaries and funding for facilities and for special education.”
Youngkin says job growth in all of Virginia is top of mind, but especially for our region.
“We’ve got a great opportunity to take advantage of the great workforce here, the logistics and geographic positions of Southwest Virginia. I think we can do a great job of bringing new companies here but we have got to go to work,” said Youngkin.
As the governor-elect prepares for transition to office in January he says he is ready to work with Democrats to find compromise on key issues.
“The fundamental shared values of low taxes and great jobs and great schools and great communities, those aren’t Republican issues those are Virginia issues. So we are gonna bring people together around those philosophies and those shared values and we are gonna get moving,” Youngkin said.
He also made a stop in Abingdon Tuesday night to take part in Food City’s “Celebrity Bagging” fundraiser, bagging groceries to raise money for the United Way.