NORFOLK, Va. — On Saturday, Virginia gets new leadership.
The next governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general will take the oath of office in Richmond. Republican Glenn Youngkin will replace Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.
He’ll be joined by Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares. They’ll be the first Republicans sworn in since 2009. Preparations for the big day began this week in Capitol Square.
But once the dinners, parades and concerts end, what will Youngkin's time in office look like?
CNU Political Science Professor Quentin Kidd said since he and many of his cabinet picks have never held office, at least in Virginia, it could take a little time before big moves are made.
"We may see a learning curve initially," he says.
Once they get going, Kidd said we could see changes in three big areas.
"Some early clashes on issues related to education, issues related to the environment and around election reform and Republican efforts to sort of drawback on that."
He said a large focus for the new superintendent and assistant superintendent of education will be on issues generally unpopular with Democrats.
"They both are very strong advocates of school choice and charter schools. They both were part of this critical race theory sort of initiative that Republicans were all about during the election," Kidd said.
Leslie Caughell, Virginia Wesleyan University political science professor, said as for environmental policies, those will probably be rolled back quickly.
"I would expect there to be some relatively quick movement there particularly on things that are state regulations that he would have control of."
"The governor has already indicated that he wants to take us out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative."
Caughell also thinks we’ll see quick movement on increasing police funding and eliminating the grocery tax.
"Where I think we’re gonna see the most change the most quickly are the state agencies where the governor can unilaterally exercise some control and change policy."
As for women in Virginia, she believes Youngkin will shy away from more divisive issues, like abortion, to appease his more moderate base.
"If possible, he would want to stay away from those issues that are going to be really divisive," Caughell said. "They’ll make kind of conservatives who voted for him, very conservative individuals in his base happy, but they’re going to be off-putting to a lot of moderate voters and they have the real tangible risk of motivating Democratic voters before the next election."
Both Kidd and Caughell said they think Youngkin will stand by his message that he wants to unite Virginia, at least initially.
"It’s to the governor’s advantage, the incoming governor's advantage, to start out on a collegial tone. I expect we’ll hear that in his inauguration address. But then, of course, we have a session and both parties are going to be clashing over issues in that session and the governor is going to have to take a role in that," said Kidd.
They also agree that he will most likely roll back mask mandates where he can.
"I think the tone the governor is going to set is to say be responsible. The responsible thing to do would be to get the vaccine, get the boost, but we’re not gonna mandate it," Kidd said.
Kidd said generally for most Virginians, whether it’s a Republican or Democratic governor, you won’t notice a drastic change in your day-to-day life.
"The roads are still gonna get taken care of and things like that."