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Gov. Youngkin makes final pitch to Virginia voters with education as top issue

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(LEESBURG, Va.) — On Election Day eve, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin made his final pitch to voters at a rally, telling the crowd, “We have to stand up for our kids.”

The Monday night event, hosted by Youngkin’s Spirit of Virginia political action committee in a stadium in Leesburg, Virginia, put education and “parents’ rights” front and center as the top issue for Republican voters ahead of Tuesday’s election.

“We’re gonna put [parents] at the head of the table in charge of our children’s lives,” said Youngkin.

At the last GOP rally in the state, before voters head to the polls Tuesday, Youngkin took aim at social media companies, linking them to issues of bullying and youth mental health struggles. He also said Democrats and social media giants are not prioritizing children’s safety.

“[Democrats] really believe that children belong to the state and not to families,” Youngkin said.

The rally, which was part of Youngkin’s “Secure Your Vote” campaign, aimed at encouraging Republicans to vote early, featured several top state Republicans, including Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares and Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears.

“When you are talking about my child, all bets are off,” Earls-Sears said.

“The stakes couldn’t be higher,” Mitarres echoed. “Parents matter.”

Loudoun County, where the event was held, became the epicenter of the “parents’ rights” conservative moment in 2021 over school pandemic learning policies and Republicans’ criticisms of the schools’ focus on racial equity.

Voters in the fast-growing suburb will select a new school board on Tuesday with all nine seats on the ballot.

“We gotta get this done,” Youngkin told the crowd. “The parents matter movement we started right here in Loudoun County and spread across the entire county … we’ve got to reinforce it again tomorrow.”

In 2021, Youngkin ran on education — advocating for parents to have more control over their children’s schooling after pandemic-era restrictions that required remote classes.

If Republicans hold their state House majority and win back the state Senate, Youngkin could advance more education legislation.

On education, Virginia Democrats say that they want to boost public school funding to address learning loss during the pandemic and other issues.

The rally also comes a few days after Youngkin issued an executive order directing the Department of Education to issue guidance ensuring school divisions notify parents of school-connected overdoses within 24 hours.

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