Opinion — A new beginning

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, January 20, 2022

Saturday, Virginia inaugurated our 74th Governor. This began the four year term of Glen Youngkin. As he passionately pointed out in the lead up to and in his speech following taking the oath of office, this election and this term of office was not about him – the individual- but rather a vision of a brighter future of Virginia.

THE VISION

That vision is centered on the belief that citizens of Virginia should be responsible for the decisions they make for their families and for themselves. That includes the education of their children. For those who operate businesses, it means that they will decide how they face their challenges.

The vision is that all Virginians should have equal opportunities to receive the best education possible and, likewise, have every opportunity to succeed in life.

Governor Youngkin laid out his vision of what he hopes can be accomplished during his term. Most importantly, he understands that his responsibility is to serve all Virginians, with no regards as to political party.

He believes that for Virginia to move forward, all must be involved, working together. We must encourage and enhance opportunities for those who want to start businesses. We need to remove any unnecessary regulations that make it more difficult for businesses to start, succeed, or expand to Virginia.

Governor Youngkin reaffirmed his commitment to education. He committed to returning to higher standards that we held a decade ago that attracts businesses to Virginia. He committed to greater investment in good teachers. Likewise, he committed to more competition for parents to choose from by extending charter school opportunities in our public schools.

Greater than the pomp and circumstance of the inauguration was a prayer breakfast. At that breakfast was a coming together of the faiths of Virginia. The prayers and music were great, but even greater was hearing from witnesses of the Youngkin family’s faith. From a friendship that began almost two decades ago, we heard of regular meetings of corporate leaders around the country that always included prayers.

We learned that Glen Youngkin’s faith led him a decade ago to believe that he should create a church. We learned that it was his faith that guided him away from his successful business career to run and serve as Governor.

Not to be lost in the process, the events of Saturday also included the swearing in of the most diverse statewide elected officials in the history of Virginia. The Lt. Governor will, for the first time, be a woman. Jamaican born Winsome Sears will make headlines, not because of her race, but rather because she is able to see beyond race. Jason Miyares was sworn in as the first Attorney General of Hispanic heritage. He will return the office of the Attorney General to its more important role of upholding the constitution and laws of Virginia. A responsibility that his predecessor often chose to ignore.

THE OPENING DAYS OF THE SESSION

Last Wednesday, the 2022 Session began. It always begins prior to the inauguration of governors because, in our representative government, it confirms that the General Assembly is the primary voice of the people.

The first days were focused on meeting deadlines. Much legislation was offered the first day, but all proposals must be sent to the General Assembly staff by last Friday in order for it to be properly before the public by this coming Friday. This allows those interested to weigh in on issues as they go through the legislative process.

Governor Northam offered his final budget before Christmas. Each legislator can offer amendments to that budget. The deadline for those amendments was also last Friday. Governor Youngkin will have a few days additionally to offer changes he would like to make.

FRANK RUFF JR. serves as the 15th District senator in Virginia. He can be reached at Sen.Ruff@verizon.net, (434) 374-5129 or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.