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New GOP leaders say Virginia will join vaccine mandate challenges

FILE - Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, center, speaks with running mates, attorney general candidate, Jason Miyares, left, and lieutenant governor candidate Winsome Sears, right, as they walk from a rally in Fredericksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. Youngkin will face Democrat former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the November election. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File) (Steve Helber, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia will join other Republican-led states and business groups in challenging Biden administration mandates intended to increase the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination rate once GOP Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin and Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares take office, the two said in a statement Friday.

“While we believe that the vaccine is a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19, we strongly believe that the Federal government cannot impose its will and restrict the freedoms of Americans and that Virginia is at its best when her people are allowed to make the best decisions for their families or businesses,” they said in the joint statement.

They said that after their Jan. 15th inauguration the commonwealth will “quickly move to protect Virginians’ freedoms” and join challenges to components of President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate.