Virginia Becomes a Free State

by Kerry Dougherty

Blue skies, sunshine and crisp temperatures greeted Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s first day in office Saturday in Richmond.

Within hours, he signaled his respect for the Virginia Constitution, which protects the rights of parents to decide what’s best for their own children by reversing Ralph Northam’s mask mandate for all school students.

Youngkin also scrapped Virginia’s vaccine mandate for all state workers, while urging everyone to take the vaccines.

Day One promises had been made and were kept.

With that, Virginia joined the other free states, where citizens are treated as adults and don’t have to live in perpetual dread of their governor’s next dictatorial whim.

Virginians can look with pity at places like New York City where children as young as five, who are not vaccinated, are no longer welcome to accompany their parents to restaurants and museums.

We can rest easy knowing that Virginia will not become a biomedical apartheid state.

I had a front-row seat to some of Saturday’s ceremonies and especially enjoyed the time I spent in the Capitol Rotunda where politicians of all stripes cordially gathered beforehand to witness the swearing in of the 74th governor of Virginia.

A number of Democrats, including outgoing Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Rep. Elaine Luria, graciously wished the new administration — and by extension the commonwealth — well.

I only saw one glowering person in the crowd: State Sen. Louise Lucas who, in keeping with her hyper-politicized personality, Tweeted this shortly before midnight prior to Youngkin’s inauguration:

What is WRONG with this woman? Is she incapable of grace?

Youngkin’s reversal of Northam’s mask mandate comes as the CDC finally admits that cloth masks are essentially facial decorations that do little if anything to stop transmission of the virus.

Yet a number of Virginia’s school districts, ignorant of the “new” science, rose up immediately to say that they will enforce 100% mask mandates in their schools, regardless of the governor’s wishes or the Constitution.


No doubt some parents in those districts will begin sending their kids to school later this month without masks. The children will be disciplined and the matter will wind up in the courts.

Yet, one by one, school boards will eventually adopt mask-optional policies, beginning in rural areas and eventually spreading to deep blue Northern Virginia, where blind faith in the power of cotton remains. This simply cannot be allowed to be the norm.

If parents want their kids muzzled in cloth masks or N95s, no problem. It certainly shouldn’t bother them if other parents want their kids to be able to breathe.

If masks actually work, that is.

It’s all about parental rights. This is what Virginia voted for in November.

If only schools would operate the way most of the commonwealth has since last spring when the statewide mask mandates were scrapped: Masks are optional almost everywhere and most Virginians seem to have adopted a respectful live-and-let-live attitude. Some people continue to wear cloth or paper masks even while outdoors. Others wear N95s. Still others go bare-faced.

Here’s an idea: Live your life. Make your own decisions for yourself and your children.

Virginia’s a free state now. Those who want to dictate what their neighbors do will have to get used to it. Or move to New York.

This column has been republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.

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29 responses to “Virginia Becomes a Free State”

  1. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
    Baconator with extra cheese

    I found it strange that Youngkin removed the mask mandate for schools but never mentioned that for executive branch workers who have been directed to wear masks at the office. It’s also in the executive order that the government is to obtain N95 masks for executive branch workers and guests visiting offices.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      yep. good point.

    2. vicnicholls Avatar

      Did you check ED2 and EO6 and DO2?

      1. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
        Baconator with extra cheese

        Yep. No wording that says executive branch email liters can choose not to wear a mask in state buildings.
        Like I said Youngkins order does tell the state to get masks for workers and visitors.

    3. VaNavVet Avatar

      Masks do work to varying degrees depending on type. This is something that Kerry can never accept. Covid is like second hand smoke which affects those around the smoker. Hence, why smoking is banned indoors and if we could only do likewise for Covid. A whole lot of virtue signaling to his base by the new Governor but what will really change?

      1. Matt Adams Avatar
        Matt Adams

        “Hence, why smoking is banned indoors and if we could only do likewise for Covid”

        Smoking is banned indoors via legislation not EO’s. If you wish to enforce a mask mandate do so through the proper process of generating a legislation.

        1. VaNavVet Avatar

          So is an EO okay to prohibit a mask mandate by local authorities?

          1. Matt Adams Avatar
            Matt Adams

            Did the local authority bring the measure to a vote IAW their authority of enforcement?

          2. VaNavVet Avatar

            Yes they would be acting within their authority.

          3. Matt Adams Avatar
            Matt Adams

            Only if the measure was voted upon and the public whom they represent engaged.

            Smoking Ordinances are products at the local level which are voted upon. Mask mandates as they currently sit are not and have not been voted on. They have been merely enacted by Boards of Health. Whom are chaired by a Political Appointee.

            If a entity wishes to enact a mask mandate, pass the legislation with a vote from the people.

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      I told you. Expect little or nothing to change.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        symbolic? geeze… I think Conservatives expect “more”, no?

        1. Stephen Haner Avatar
          Stephen Haner

          Kerry will be a key one to watch for signs of disaffection as the constraints of reality set in. 🙂

  2. Twig Duke Avatar

    Please see Todd Gilbert’s tweet. Nuf said.

    1. vicnicholls Avatar

      Gilbert was right. His timing was off. At least he wasn’t pardoning a rapist as one of his claims to fame in office. At least Loudoun County is getting investigated for the rapes, and hopefully for going after the parent who spoke about their daughters’ rape by a criminal.

  3. VaNavVet Avatar

    Governor Youngkin started out with a good speech and will be watching to see if deeds match the words. I am not sure but I don’t think that I heard him acknowledge or thank teachers. If that was the case, was it deliberate or an oversight? Either way he will be perceived as anti-teacher. The best part of the ceremony for me was the closing prayer by Governor Youngkin. He asked that hearts be softened so that they could see the good in everyone. It often seems that we could use some “heart softening” here on this blog. Perhaps beginning with Kerry.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      I too watched the entire proceedings. I was impressed with what seemed like the entire student body of VMI marched in the parade – as well as some very obvious “advertisements” from entities like the speedways and others… but yes, no troupe of teachers in the parade…

      1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
        Dick Hall-Sizemore

        The participation on the VMI Cadet Corps in the inaugural parade is a longstanding tradition.

  4. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    I am just going to let this key complaint by JAB from the previous piece sit here and speak for itself…

    “It would be helpful if both sides honestly characterized the issues so we could then have an informed debate about them.”

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      well… umm…. hmmm… yes he said that… let’s see if he meant it…

      1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        Apparently, he doesn’t… alas…

  5. tmtfairfax Avatar

    And then there was the former waitress with a degree from Boston University in Florida leading by example while maskless.

  6. James McCarthy Avatar
    James McCarthy

    PTL the world is endowed by Kerry trumpeting that we are free, free at last. we are encouraged to live our lives as we see fit perhaps even without regard to the welfare of neighbors. Off with the masks.

  7. LarrytheG Avatar

    What we do as individuals , does affect others. When someone defines “freedom” as the ability to do what you want to do without acknowledging impacts to others, it sounds like a child has a limited view of the world.

    We went through some of this stuff with DUI’s and second hand smoke.

    In both cases, we started out with the “me me” folks claiming it was their business and their freedom to do and in the end, it was not agreed to.

    Kerry made a statement about acting up on a plane and she intimated that it was not worth it because one might get placed on a no-fly list.

    That sounded for all the world like a calculation between what she felt was her ‘right” versus the consequences of exercising that right.

    And indeed, the real world works that way – in many situations including COVID, masks and vaccinations. We have ‘rights’ and yes, there ARE consequences.

  8. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    As usual, Kerry cherry picks. She ignores, or is ignorant of, the statute adopted by the GA last ( and patroned by a Republican senator) that requires schools to have in-school education and

    “provide such in-person instruction in a manner in which it adheres, to the maximum extent practicable,to any currently applicable mitigation strategies for early childhood care and education programs and elementary and secondary schools to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 that have been provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Some school districts have elected to follow the law, rather than disobey it as advocated by the new Governor.

    She disapprovingly cites Lucas’s Tweet but ignores Speaker Gilbert’s disparaging Tweet during Northam’s State of the Commonwealth address.

    1. vicnicholls Avatar

      Gilbert was right. His timing was off.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        so we wouldn’t want that kind of talk about Youngkin, right?

        1. Twig Duke Avatar

          No – this kind of talk about Youngkin is “right” – apparently if the timing is not “off”.

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