ROANOKE, Va. – While both Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are shaking all the hands they can prior to the election, the race may turn on the question of COVID vaccinations.
“I encourage people to get the vaccine, but I respect your decision to make that decision and so this is a big difference,” Youngkin said during a one-on-one interview.
His position is different than McAuliffe who jokes that “Virginia is for Vaccination Lovers,” and wants to require teachers, doctors, nurses and college students to be vaccinated.
“I have met so many Virginians that have just said I am not going to get it if they tell me to get it,” Youngkin said.
When it comes to teaching Virginia’s children, Youngkin seized on a comment from the last debate where McAuliffe indicated he wanted to keep parents out of their children’s education.
“It’s open my schools and teach my children. It’s teach my children how to think, not what to think, and by the way, if there is something sexually explicit in my children’s curriculum, tell me about it,” Youngkin said.
He does not believe in teaching the controversial critical race theory.
“Children are being told that everything is based on race. And they’re taught to view everything through a lens of race. And divide everybody up into buckets. And they use words like oppressors, and they use words like victims. And what we don’t want to do is airbrush our history. We have to teach our entire history - the good and the bad. And there is bad.” he said.
Then there’s the question of whether the state should continue to remove Confederate icons.
“I feel that’s a local decision. It needs to be made by local authorities, but it has to be a decision that cannot be posted in the middle of the night on people.
Another clear difference in this race is abortion.
“I believe that a child, an unborn child has rights. I’m pro-life. I do believe that exceptions can be made in the case of rape and incest and when a mother’s life is in jeopardy,” Youngkin said.
Shootings are up in Roanoke and Lynchburg as is violent crime across Virginia. And police departments are unable to hire officers. Roanoke and Lynchburg are each down about 30 officers. Youngkin believes it’s time the state put more money into attracting and retaining officers.
“First, we are going to fully fund law enforcement we’re going to increase salaries. We’re going to fund equipment. We’re going to fund training. We are going to protect qualified immunity,” he said.
Throughout the campaign, Democrat McAuliffe has tried to tie Youngkin to Donald Trump. Though Youngkin says he generally supports the former president, he kept his association with Trump at arm’s length.
“There’s only one person who has tried to take me to Donald Trump and that’s my opponent. I believe Terry McAuliffe has to recognize it’s Glenn Youngkin against Terry McAuliffe,” he said.
You can watch Youngkin’s full interview with 10 News below: