What you need to know before Youngkin takes office as Virginia’s next governor on Saturday

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Zac Brown Band will perform at an event on the night of the inauguration and Youngkin will invite the public to the Executive Mansion for an open house the next day.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin will be sworn in as Virginia’s 74th governor on Saturday, more than two months after he led the Republican ticket to a sweep of the statewide elections.

Youngkin, Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares and Lt. Gov.-elect Winsome Sears will be inaugurated outside on the State Capitol’s south portico on Saturday, Jan. 15. Virginia had not elected a GOP statewide candidate in over a decade before their victories in November 2021.

“Together, we will change the trajectory of this Commonwealth,” Youngkin told a crowd of supporters after the governor’s race was called. “And friends, we are going to start that transformation on day one.”

There is a slate of public and ticketed events planned for Youngkin’s inauguration weekend, including a tea party, a dinner at the Science Museum of Virginia, the inaugural parade and an event at Main Street Station that will have live music and food from different regions of the Commonwealth.

Zac Brown Band, a country band, will perform at the ticketed event at Main Street Station after the inauguration, a Youngkin spokesperson confirmed to WFXR’s sister station, WRIC. After he takes office, Youngkin and Virginia’s next first lady, Suzanne Youngkin, will host an open house on Sunday, Jan. 16, at the Executive Mansion that will be open to the public.

Youngkin will follow Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who was prohibited from running for a second consecutive term by the state’s constitution. Youngkin, a former private equity executive, began shaping out his transition team and planning the transfer of power not long after defeating former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

He tapped three former Republican Virginia governors — Robert F. McDonnell, James S. Gilmore III and George F. Allen — and also former Democratic Gov. Douglas Wilder as advisors on Nov. 10, 2021.

Despite concerns over some of his picks, Youngkin has also filled out his cabinet nominees ahead of his inauguration and the start of the 2022 General Assembly session. The state legislature will have to approve the cabinet nominees before they can assume office.

The victory for Youngkin, a first-time candidate, could signal a shift in Virginia’s political landscape and lay out a plan for Republicans running in competitive states in the post-Trump era. The heavily nationalized election was seen as a measure of voters’ enthusiasm for Democratic control in the Commonwealth.

Youngkin and other Virginia Republicans targeted policy changes enacted during the Democrats’ rein over the state legislature and top elected offices, such as several gun control measures, as an example of government overreach amid a shift in power. 

Before he takes office, Youngkin has announced that he will seek to challenge COVID-19 vaccine mandates for large employers and most health care workers that have been announced by President Joe Biden. He has also pledged to withdraw Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, although questions remain over whether he has the unilateral authority to do so.

The inauguration is expected to take place at noon, closing several streets in and around Capitol Square.

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