Leahy: Youngkin’s Action Persona Scrapes Against Capitol Square Tradition

Virginia’s governors have long wanted to lead movements, shake the status quo and, most important for legacy purposes, be the jobs governor, or education governor or something else that would make them stand out from their peers.

The current occupant of the Executive Mansion, Glenn Youngkin (R), is no different. His bid is to be known — and remembered by voters in a future statewide/national campaign — as the “action” governor.

Okay, let’s go with that. What has Glenn “Action” Youngkin got to show for his first General Assembly session?

That’s still largely undecided, because the General Assembly has yet to finish its most important function: deciding how much money to spend.

But in the past few days Youngkin has been a whirlwind of activity. The governor has signed hundreds of bills, vetoed a few and suggested amendments to a few more.

His vetoes have raised eyebrows, largely because they look and feel petty. As The Post’s Laura Vozzella, Greg Schneider and Hannah Natanson reported:

Youngkin vetoed 25 bills that had bipartisan support in the General Assembly, throwing sharp elbows particularly at lawmakers who represent blue areas of Northern Virginia. For instance, he vetoed nine of the 10 bills sponsored by Sen. Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria) while signing identical House bills in six of those cases.

Typically a governor signs both versions, allowing both sponsors bragging rights for getting a bill passed into law.

Governors tweaking legislators of the opposing party is hardly a new thing. But breaking a long-held political norm could become a long-term problem for Youngkin, whose “action” persona appears to chafe at how politics gets done in Richmond.

We may not have to wait long for this snub to have an effect. Remember the unfinished budget? It includes signature Youngkin action items such as an expanded personal income tax deduction and elimination of the grocery tax.

There are few better ways for a governor to watch his big priorities wither and die than to poke the other side in that most tender of spots: its pride. Perhaps Youngkin should consult ex-governors Jim Gilmore (car tax), Tim Kaine (transportation) and Terry McAuliffe (Medicaid expansion) about how costly it can be to offend lawmakers.

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