As mid-point approaches, General Assembly navigates partisan divide

Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 8:02 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - In Glenn Youngkin’s inaugural address, the new governor said he was committed to bringing Virginians together.

“I come to this moment and into this office knowing that we must bind the wounds of division, restore trust, find common cause for the common good,” Youngkin said during his speech January 15.

But as he pursued his Day One Game Plan and Democrats fired back, the partisanship in Richmond has only increased, especially online.

It came to a head in the last week, after a teenager active in Democratic politics retweeted a news article critical of the governor. And a Youngkin campaign twitter account responded with a personal attack.

“I expected the governor to ask his online supporters to back off,” Ethan Lynne told reporters Monday, “but then again I also thought that the governor would apologize by now.”

In a subsequent tweet, Youngkin said the original post was unauthorized and shouldn’t have happened, but the episode has continued to fuel a heated debate online.

“We’re in a 24/7 news environment they say, but we’re also in a 24/7 political environment, a 24/7 campaign environment,” said Virginia Tech Professor and WDBJ7 Political Analyst Bob Denton.

Denton said “hyper-partisanship” is a national phenomenon that is having an effect in Virginia.

And with General Assembly elections on tap in 2023, Denton said we could see the impact during the current legislative session.

“So this may indeed be one of those sessions of gridlock rather than progressing on such things as education, and in terms of funding for transportation and some of the things we were hoping to see in the Commonwealth of Virginia pulling out of this pandemic,” Denton said.

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