Roque Miranda, '22
Glenn Youngkin is the perfect candidate to be the governor of Virginia, but before I get to that let me warn that unlike his opponent Terry McAuliffe this article does not talk about Donald Trump or any other issue that has nothing to do with the needs of Virginia. To be evenhanded, I also won’t address how great a guy Glenn Youngkin is, his St. Albans connections, or even his remarkable basketball talent. I want to focus instead on how Glenn Youngkin will address the issues that matter in the everyday lives of Virginians. Youngkin's platform is all about making Virginia the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family. He believes that this is mainly achievable by investing in education, fighting crime, and creating jobs. I agree.
Education has become the unexpected big issue that now dominates the contest in the Commonwealth. Even before Terry McAuliffe said his dirty secret out loud on the debate stage, —that he believes parents should not have a say in their children’s education—Glenn Youngkin had committed to making the most significant investment in Virginia schools the Commonwealth has ever seen. Youngkin wants to raise teachers' pay and improve facilities. Perhaps more significantly, Youngkin wants to invest more in Charter schools and to respect parental choice. That means children of all income levels and backgrounds will have the opportunity to get an excellent education. Currently, Virginia has only seven charter schools in the entire state. For contrast, North Carolina has 200 and Maryland has 40.
When he was Virginia’s governor from 2014 to 2018, Terry McAuliffe left kids behind. When 88 of Virginia's public schools didn't pass their accreditation, guess what McAuliffe did. Instead of improving Virginia schools, he lowered standards so that the failing schools would pass. Now Virginia has the lowest level of public school expectations of all 50 states.1 Under Terry McAuliffe, Virginia's children suffered “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” Just last year, of Virginia public school children, only 69% passed Reading proficiency tests, and only 54% passed Math proficiency tests.2
While Terry McAuliffe seeks to divide Virginians at every turn, Glenn Youngkin has committed to banning divisive, politically driven ideologies from being taught in public schools. In Loudoun County, for example, school board meetings have become disastrous, filled with enraged parents who demand that their students receive an education and not indoctrination. Youngkin's solution: teach kids how to think, not what to think. McAuliffe appears to disagree with that familiar adage.
Unlike McAuliffe, who has surrendered to ideological and self-interested school boards, Youngkin understands that parents deserve to know what their kids are taught in schools and should play a leading role in their children's education. It is obvious.
With similar passion, Glenn Youngkin is committed to fighting crime, including taking on the alarmingly high level of human trafficking in Northern Virginia, which existed and persisted throughout the McAuliffe and Northam administrations. He seeks to fulfill this commitment by comprehensively funding law enforcement, raising salaries, and, most importantly, increasing the training that places the dignity of human life as a leading police-contact priority. For his dedication to keeping Virginians safe, he has received endorsements from 83 sheriffs across the commonwealth, many of them Democrats.3 On the other hand, during McAuliffe’s time as governor, homicide rates went up by 40%. The rape rate went up every year.4 And the mental health facilities Youngkin plans to invest in reached crisis levels. Terry McAuliffe is a dangerous choice for Virginia.
Glenn Youngkin also wants to be a governor to improve the prosperity and financial well-being of all Virginians. This is something that Richmond’s bureaucracy of the last eight years has trampled underfoot. For example, Virginia is one of the only states to enforce a grocery tax. Glenn Youngkin has made clear that he will not tolerate such a regressive tax on working-class Virginia families. Terry McAuliffe, on the other hand, has very different priorities. He wants to end Virginia's right to work status, forcing workers to join labor unions against their will.
McAuliffe’s record shows the same poor judgment. While he was governor, out of 79 job economic development deals that his administration touted, 32 didn't produce a single job.5 Remarkably, showing even poorer judgment, Terry McAuliffe has decided to run again on the same platform as the last time eight years ago, with the same talking points, only to remind us all of what he did not achieve the last time.
Finally, Terry McAuliffe's decision to center his campaign mainly around the former president rather than on Glenn Youngkin demonstrates that he cannot compete with what Glenn offers Virginians. Instead of telling voters why he is the better candidate, he instead is falling back on using division to slander his opponent in the hope of tapping a voter base.
Youngkin, on the other hand, has decided to focus on how he plans to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family. Now is a time for unity and a vision that looks forward, not division and rear view mirrors.
Cover Photo From the Associated Press/Patrick Semansky
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