Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) has had a busy few weeks. Not long after his international trade agreement trip to Asia, the governor gave a speech as part of the "A Time for Choosing" series at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute on Monday night. In it, Youngkin spoke to "happy warriors" and highlighted a contrast between freedom being extinct and where it is shining, in this case in Virginia, where he was elected in November 2021.
"At a time when it’s easy to lose faith, to worry that we are indeed that one generation when freedom becomes extinct, there are lights shining across America," Youngkin shared early on in his speech. He went on to share numerous examples that he sees in Virginia "everyday," including issues he campaigned and won on.
"I see them in Virginia everyday," Youngkin shared, "lights of encouragement that the shared values at the foundation of this great American Experiment and the policies and decisions informed by them will prevail."
"These lights convince me that we can usher in a new era not just of Republican values, but of American values… that champions a future grounded in the confidence that our best days are ahead of us," Youngkin continued.
Such notable examples included the "confidence built on restoring safety in our communities, sanity to our schools, and individual rights to our citizens--especially to our parents," which proved to be a particularly winning issue for Youngkin, and is one he continues to focus on as governor.
He also referenced the "confidence built on fiscal discipline for taxpayers, because it’s their money, not the government’s," the "confidence built on the global stage through strength and support to our friends and allies," and the "confidence built on unleashing American ingenuity and unbridled opportunity for every man, woman, and child."
Youngkin also explained how conservative can values work in Virginia, and are a model for the rest of the country.
"Conservative policies win because they are grounded in timeless truths and common sense," Youngkin pointed out. "And more importantly, common sense policies work," he continued, offering that "Virginia is the test case, proof positive, a state that can lurch left and was falling behind made a choice and is now winning."
.@GlennYoungkin on why conservative policies WIN:— YoungkinWins (@YoungkinWins) May 2, 2023
“Conservative policies win because they are grounded in timeless truths and commonsense…Virginia is the test case, proof positive, a state that can lurch left and was falling behind made a choice and is now winning.” pic.twitter.com/ilXfe8VnYP
Towards the end of his speech, Youngkin offered a larger application. "This is beyond Republican politics," he offered, "this is America's future." He acknowledged that "it's easy to lose faith and think that we are the one generation that will lose freedom, but, there are shining lights," reminding that "one of those shining lights is Virginia."
"I want to encourage each and every one of you, because we can fulfill the opportunity and the march to the destiny that we all feel. We can be the party of education, we can be the party of safe communities, we can be the party of jobs and economic prosperity, we can be the party of unbridled opportunity. We are the party of common sense," he declared.
This is something Youngkin says "I witness every day, I see the power of the spirit of Virginia, the power of the spirit of America come to life, and breathe hope into the American dream."
These remarks raised hopes among fellow Republicans in Virginia as they not only defend their majority in the House of Delegates but try to control of the state Senate.
Governor @GlennYoungkin is spot on.— Delegate Wendell Walker (@WendellWalkerVA) May 2, 2023
The @GOP represents the values that Americans cherish - education, public safety, economic prosperity, and opportunity.
These are the building blocks of a brighter future for all and is the path forward to victory in Virginia this November. https://t.co/Spm2qqQBxw
While Youngkin has made news for how he is not looking to run for president "this year," he continues to shine in Virginia. Past reporting from The New York Times highlights how he is looking to put his resources into winning back the state Senate. It was in 2021 that Republicans also won control of the House of Delegates, riding on Youngkin's coattails. Youngkin became the first Republican governor elected since 2009.
The governor also referenced Republicans' electoral successes in Virginia that November. Speaking about a Big Tent Republican Party, Youngkin offered that "our 2021 election proved that Virginians were hungry for change." Him mentioning the election of Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earl-Sears who is the first black female naturalized citizen elected to statewide office, earned applause from the crowd. Youngkin mentioned the election of Attorney General Jason Miyares as the first Hispanic elected to statewide office, calling them "the face of the Republican Party."
Youngkin remains popular in Virginia. According to data compiled between January 1 and March 31 from Morning Consult, he enjoys a 56 percent approval rating, putting him in the top half of this country's governors. Thirty-two percent disapprove. As TheRoanokeStar.com highlighted last month, such numbers show a climb in approval ratings, giving him a healthy net positive of +24.
The governor also made headlines earlier on Tuesday as it applies to the education issue, for his response to American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, who engaged in gaslighting of epic proportions while testifying before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic last week.
"And for Randi Weingarten to come out and say they were trying to get schools open, well let me tell ya, this is counter to anything people believe, and in fact she was probably my best support in getting elected," Youngkin offered to Fox Business, "because they kept schools shut and what we saw was what it did to children."
Talking about how Virginia saw the largest learning loss in 4th grade reading and math in the country, Youngkin aptly reminded that "a 12-inch screen is not a quality education. Parents know it, they know the truth, they cannot spin their way out of this," the governor made clear, lamenting how the teachers union "doesn't pay attention to students and parents," but rather "they take care of bureaucrats and politicians."
"I think this is going to continue to be one of the leading issues in our nation," Youngkin offered, adding "this is why this year in Virginia I am confident that Virginians will again stand up, they're going to vote for parents, they're going to vote for students, and they're going to reject this re-spin of what we all know happened, which is that the teachers union wanted the schools closed."
The pinned tweet from the Spirit of Virginia-Team Youngkin account includes a 14 second clip of Youngkin reminding that this is why he won.
"At the core of this, parents have a say about their children, and this is one of the top reasons why Virginians--a purple state--came together, not just Republicans, but Independents, and Democrats, and said we don't like what's going on at our schools."