Bolling: The Youngkin Administration – Standing in the Breach

Let’s be honest. Two-and-a-half years into his four-year term as Governor, Glenn Youngkin does not have an impressive list of accomplishments.

Most of Youngkin’s key initiatives, such as this year’s proposals to cut taxes and lure the Washington Capitals and Wizards to Virginia, have been shot down by Democrats who currently control both houses of the General Assembly.

But that doesn’t mean that Youngkin has not been an impactful Governor. In fact, Youngkin may be best remembered for what he prevented, as opposed to what he accomplished.

For example, this year legislative Democrats passed a lengthy list of progressive initiatives that would make a California liberal blush. But thanks to Youngkin, none of these proposals will become law, at least not yet.

In recent days, Youngkin has vetoed more than 80 Democratic bills that would have:

* Mandated another increase in Virginia’s minimum wage, making it more difficult for many small businesses to survive.

* Established an over-the-counter retail market for marijuana sales.

* Banned the sale of so called assault weapons, which is more difficult to do than it is to talk about.

* Authorized class action civil lawsuits, which was opposed by almost everyone except for the trail lawyers who would have financially benefited most from them.

* Undermined public safety by lessening penalties for many crimes and putting the interests of criminals ahead of the rights of victims of crime.

Had it not been for Youngkin, all of these liberal proposals and more would have become law on July 1.

But because of Youngkin, they will all meet a likely demise when the General Assembly returns to Richmond to act on the Governor’s amendments and vetoes of legislation approved during the 2024 legislative session.

And the biggest battle has yet to be fought.

This year Democrats embedded massive tax increases in the 2024-2026 biennial budget, and Youngkin will likely remove those tax increases by amendment or veto, setting up a potentially bitter battle with Democrats over the budget as we approach the end of the current biennium.

So, while Youngkin may not have an impressive list of legislative victories, he has been and will continue to be a consequential Governor, doing his best to hold back the Democratic tide, at least for another 18 months.

All of which begs the question, what will happen in 2026?

If Democrats hold their legislative majority in the Virginia House of Delegates and elect a Democratic Governor in 2025, there will be no one to stop the enactment of a full blown liberal agenda in a state that once prided itself on taking a conservative approach to government.

Unfortunately, Democrats could have a strong candidate for Governor in Rep. Abigail Spanberger, assuming they have the good sense to nominate her over Richmond Mayor Lavar Stoney; while the Republican bench is weak to say the least.

Unless Virginia Republicans can find another Glenn Youngkin out there some place, the liberalization of Virginia may only be 18 months away, despite Youngkin’s efforts to stop it.

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