News & Events

Happy trails, Governor Northam.

By the end of this week, the strange, improbable four-year tour of Virginia’s 73rd governor, His Excellency Ralph Shearer Northam, will be over.

In a time-honored ceremony on Saturday morning, surrounded by living former governors dressed befitting a high-society church wedding, the mild-mannered Eastern Shore-raised country doctor who ambled into the Virginia Senate for the first time just 14 years ago literally turns the keys to the Executive Mansion over to the 74th governor, His soon-to-be-Excellency Glenn Youngkin.

(Yes, they really do use that royal-sounding honorific in official introductions of Virginia governors. It’s been a thing since Jamestown.)

Gov. Northam, fare thee well in your return to civilian life. Whether it’s resuming your work as a pediatric neurologist, becoming a high-profile rainmaker for one of the white-shoe lobbying shops that dot Richmond’s cityscape between Canal and Main streets, or just tending your garden, I wish you well, sir.

One thing about your single, non-renewable term that Virginia’s Constitution uniquely affords its chief executives: It wasn’t boring, much as you might have wished it to be. Yours were theme-park years for the press corps.

Youngkin and Miyares announce plans to challenge federal vaccine mandates
Virginia Mercury, Kate MastersJanuary 7, 2022 (Short)

Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin and incoming Attorney General Jason Miyares will “challenge” vaccine mandates passed down by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and other federal agencies.

The plans, announced in a Friday news release, come as the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments on whether the mandates should go into effect even while they’re challenged by at least two dozen states in federal appeals courts. Both Miyares and Youngkin openly opposed state and federal mandates on the campaign trail, but the announcement solidifies their policy stance as the requirement continues to face legal challenges.

President Joe Biden first announced the mandate in November. Under federal emergency regulations, any health care facilities that accepted CMS funding would have been required to implement a staff vaccine mandate by this month. A similar regulation, adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, would have required companies with 100 or more employees to adopt vaccine or weekly testing mandates for workers.