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Glenn Youngkin names new 'diversity' officer, refocuses office's efforts — and Democrats are going to be outraged

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Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin appointed a new point-person to lead the state's diversity and inclusion efforts on Wednesday. But she's nothing like the progressive social justice activists who usually occupy such offices.

Rather, Virginia's new director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Angela Sailor, is a policy expert from the Washington, D.C.-based conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation who has publicly criticized the teaching of critical race theory in schools, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

What are the details?

In a press release Wednesday, Youngkin announced Sailor's appointment and also issued an executive order to dramatically refocus the office's efforts.

Under the new framework, Sailor and her staff will reportedly work to advance economic opportunity and cooperation between religious groups, promote “free speech and civil discourse” at colleges and universities, ensure the state’s history curriculum is “honest, objective, and complete," work towards "eliminating disparities in prenatal care, and be an ambassador for unborn children.”

The office was created by former Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam in 2019 in the aftermath of the blackface scandal that nearly led to his ouster.

The move is sure to anger progressives in the commonwealth, who worked hard over the last several years to advance racial equity by promoting radical "anti-racist" ideas that emphasized racism in the teaching of America's history and often depicted white people as oppressors.

But resentment towards those progressive ideas among voters was a major reason that Youngkin was elected in the first place. During his campaign, Youngkin specifically rallied against race-based curriculum in schools and vowed to ban the teaching of critical race theory.

Sailor, for her part, will have no problem carrying out the duties assigned to her. In recent blog posts for the Heritage Foundation, she said lessons arguing that “America is systemically racist” are “the textbook definition of racism.”

“No one would argue that children shouldn’t be thoroughly taught about the evils of racism, slavery, and segregation that happened in this country,” she wrote in a July 2021 column. "But [critical race theory] ignores the hundreds of thousands of lives that were sacrificed during the Civil War to end slavery, the long struggle of the civil rights movement to end segregation and win equality, and the reality that the nation has made great progress.”

The George W. Bush administration alum currently serves as the vice president of the Heritage Foundation's Feulner Institute, which was founded to "restore confidence in America's founding values and principles."

What else?

The diversity office rebranding is just the latest move by the firebrand Republican governor to alter the state of play in the commonwealth since his election.

Youngkin began using "scorched earth" tactics immediately upon entering office on Saturday, issuing a host of executive orders fulfilling key campaign promises on public education, COVID-19 restrictions, the climate, and the economy.

His orders banned the teaching of critical race theory, empowered parents in the state, eliminated the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for state employees, and cut "job-killing regulations" by 25%, among other things.

Meanwhile, his attorney general, Jason Miyares, cleaned house in the AG's office by firing more than two dozen staff members.

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