Terry McAuliffe, Virginia’s Democratic candidate for governor in November, has always faced challenges head-on. Virginians know his way of governing — he sees things as they are, not as he wants them to be and if bad things happen, he comes up with achievable ways to dig us out of ditches. We know where he stands on moving the economy forward, health care and educational opportunities for all, sensible gun laws, and protecting women’s rights to be in charge of their reproductive health.
Since becoming the Republican candidate for governor, Glenn Youngkin has not said much about where he expects to take Virginia on a variety of important issues. One thing is clear — he has definitely thrown in the towel on Virginia’s economy. He claims Virginia is “in the ditch” and mocks the state’s ability to attract business. He preaches doom and gloom but his preaching is devoid of facts.
Let’s talk facts about Virginia’s economy.
- In July 2021, CNBC ranked Virginia as America’s Top State for Business. Virginia is the first state to achieve a back-to-back first place position from CNBC (due to the pandemic, there was no report in 2020).
- Virginia has one of the most educated workforces in the country with a high number of science, technology and math workers. Thirty-nine percent of Virginia workers have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Terry McAuliffe acknowledges we have more work to do. Businesses want to know their companies’ employees will have access to good health care in the state. This is still a work in progress in Virginia, but we have come a long way.
- In recent years, Virginia has emphasized policies relating to inclusion, equity and justice. These policies have come at a time when companies want to do business in states that promote these values. Virginia has been singled out for its focus on voting rights and anti-discrimination laws. As Gov. Ralph Northam said, “Virginia is promoting making it easier to vote while other states are not.” States like Texas and Georgia, top business competitors for Virginia, have chosen to go in the opposite direction when it comes to establishing a level playing field.
What does Glenn Youngkin propose to attract businesses to Virginia, educate our children, and support public health as we deal with a stubborn and deadly pandemic? First, Youngkin wants to slash state income taxes. Long-term? His goal is to eliminate state income taxes altogether. He promises miracles. History tells us another story.
Republican governors in states like Kansas and Louisiana cut state taxes. In the end, both states wound up reversing the tax cuts. How does a state deal with crime when it has eliminated the source of funding for law enforcement? Also, compared with other states, Virginia is not running hot when it comes to its state income tax rate. We are smack dab in the middle of state taxes nationwide.
Terry McAuliffe was governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018. His term ushered in policies that grew Virginia’s economy and set it on the path for standout performance that has attracted many businesses to the state.
Glenn Youngkin lives in an ivory tower, pays out of pocket for slick political TV ads, and attends political rallies where people insist Joe Biden is not the legitimate president. He made a ton of money as co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, a multinational private equity corporation. He continues to own millions of shares in The Carlyle Group. None of this shows he can be a governor who brings leadership, creativity, and guts to the job.
Youngkin bills himself as a pragmatist but pragmatism doesn’t mean hiding your true agenda until you’re elected. In a secretly recorded video in June, he tried to dance around the issue of a woman’s right to choose. Eventually, he admitted that he can’t say out loud what he really believes. “When I’m governor and I have a majority in the House, we can start going on offense. But, as a campaign topic, sadly, that won’t win me independent votes that I have to get.” So much for speaking truth to voters and wanting to explain your position on issues.
Glenn Youngkin needs to acknowledge real issues facing Virginians: escalating fears about the pandemic and a safe return to school, precious children who are too young to be vaccinated, economic hardships we’re trying to overcome, and health care we’re desperately trying to afford. Nothing about Youngkin’s personal background or his private equity firm experience prepared him to tackle any of these issues head-on.
His allegiance to the former president seems to be front and center. In Youngkin’s own words: “President Trump represents so much of why I’m running.” A viable candidate for governor should be taking his inspiration from the Virginians he hopes to lead.
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