JF in the News: Debates on vaccine, mask mandates permeate Virginia governor’s race

Truncated from:  https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/567665-debates-on-vaccine-mask-mandates-permeate-virginia-governors-race?rnd=1628803568&utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=41443

On Tuesday the Virginia Beach School Board voted 7-4 to mandate masks in public schools, while in Chesterfield County, the school board voted unanimously to approve the mask mandate. But in nearby Hanover County, the board voted 4-3 against requiring students or staff to wear masks during the upcoming school year. Roughly 30 speakers weighed in on the mask debate in Chesterfield, while almost 70 people spoke at the Virginia Beach meeting which went past 1 a.m. on Wednesday, according to The Virginian-Pilot. 

“The bigger issue here is mandatory masking of your child going to school,” said conservative Virginia talk show host John Fredericks. 

Youngkin told Fredericks on his show last week that he would ban mask mandates, following in the footsteps of potential 2024 presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R ).

“Yeah, I believe there should not be mask mandates in Virginia,” Youngkin said when asked whether he would ban mask mandates in Virginia like DeSantis did in Florida.

Fredericks told The Hill he believes the issue of mask mandates could boost Youngkin against McAuliffe in November, citing the highly sought-after suburban women voters who turned against former President Trump in 2016 and 2020.

“This is a winning issue for him,” Fredericks said. “The suburbs are where the mama bears are. This is all about the mama bears, and I don’t care whether you voted for McAuliffe, voted for Biden, or you don’t like Trump’s tweets, when you’ve got to wrap your kid in a mask in the third grade, that doesn’t feel good to you.” 

Virginia Democratic state Sen. Chap Petersen, the state’s 34th district in Fairfax, warned that Northam’s new mandate is “the wrong narrative” for Democrats.

“From a political perspective, it’s counterproductive to Democrats because it negates all of the progress that we’ve made, which is a lot in getting people vaccinated,” Petersen told The Hill, adding that it is not within the governor’s authority to issue a mandate on the school systems.

Photo and article courtesy of The Hill.