VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin headed to Hampton Roads on Veterans Day to say “thank you.”
Youngkin attended the Tidewater Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony event at 9 a.m. on 16th Street and Atlantic Avenue. It ended at the Tidewater Veterans Memorial at 19th Street, across from the Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th Street.
After the parade, Youngkin delivered remarks to local veterans and supporters at his own “Hampton Roads, Thank You” rally.
Youngkin thanked about 300 supporters at Froggie’s Smoke Tap House in Virginia Beach. Some of them were the folks who helped Youngkin become Virginia’s 74th governor.
54-year-old Youngkin won the Virginia governor’s race Nov. 2 to become the first Republican to win statewide office in the commonwealth in 12 years.
Youngkin’s defeat of Democrat Terry McAuliffe marked a sharp turnabout in a state that has shifted to the left over the past decade and was captured by President Joe Biden last year by a 10-point margin.
“What happened across Hampton Roads was monumental. A lot of people said the race was won or lost in Northern Virginia. This race was won or lost in Hampton Roads,” Youngkin said to applause.
Note: you can watch Youngkin’s full speech below.
Virginia Beach was a pivotal force in the election.
“We together won 54% of the vote in Virginia Beach. That hasn’t been done in 12 years,” he said.
Then, Youngkin started talking about the issues that won the election for him.
“The idea we are going to eliminate the grocery tax… We are going to work for our veterans’ retirements. We want to say thanks to veterans,” he said.
No issue was seized upon more by the Youngkin campaign than schools and parents’ involvement in them.
“We want to make sure our schools are going to stand for excellence. Again, we are going to raise expectations, fund charter schools, and, yes, get our curriculum focused on teaching our children how to think and not what to think,” he said.
Outside the event, 10 On Your Side asked Youngkin when he knew he was going to win the election.
“I just felt from the first meeting we had running for governor that we were going to have a lot of support. It was so much fun to watch Virginia Beach come together,” he said.
Youngkin succeeds at retail politics. There was a long line to get pictures with him Thursday.
He spoke about the “spirit of Virginia” playing off his theme song for the campaign “Spirit in the Sky.”
“One of the things sweeping over Virginia, and over the entire Commonwealth, was a refreshing spirit of Virginia, and the spirit of Virginia is in our history,” he said, again hitting the theme that received lots of applause.
Youngkin found victory in the midst of a big head of steam, he said.
“We head into this with a big head of steam because you gave us a big head of steam. You gave a lot for us to work with,” he said.
Parents became the spirit of Virginia as Youngkin won on the backs of parents concerned about schools,
“Parents from all walks of life, and all backgrounds agreed that kids matter. Yes, they do, and you have a role in the education, and we are going to make it happen,” he said.
The spirit of Virginia is in the emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic with a full steam ahead attitude.
“I’ve already had great meetings getting this great Virginia economy moving and the ability to stand up and say Virginia is open for business on day one,” Youngkin said.
Outside, WAVY’s Andy Fox asked Youngkin about those kitchen-table issues that served up the victory for this business executive turned governor-elect.
“The kitchen-table issues we were focused on were schools, jobs, safe communities, bringing together communities that may not have been in the same room together before,” he said.
He also shared a personal moment the day after his victory when it all started sinking in.
“I was looking in the mirror shaving, and I said, ‘Virginia just hired you to be their governor,’“ he said.
The campaign thesis Youngkin initiated, campaigned on, and won on: “Was the fact when we come together as Virginians nothing can stand in our way — nothing,” he said.