‘We’re going back towards better days’: Thousands attend Gov. Youngkin’s Inauguration Ceremony

Published: Jan. 15, 2022 at 5:35 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 16, 2022 at 11:36 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Thousands of Governor Glenn Youngkin’s supporters, along with those of Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears and Attorney General Jason Miyares, came out in droves Saturday for the 2022 inauguration.

The State Capitol boosted security measures to ensure the inauguration ceremony went on without a hitch.

Seven-thousand tickets were allotted for the ceremony, all of them were claimed ahead of Saturday.

“I have the honor to present the Governor-elect, the Honorable Glenn Youngkin,” a speaker announced shortly after noon.

The cheers of thousands carried across the capitol grounds as Youngkin made his way down the steps of the statehouse. Those voices coming from some of the youngest in attendance like Austin Riddell.

“I was personally invited by Mrs. Winsome Sears,” Riddell said.

In Nov. 2021, Riddell organized a Veterans Day ceremony at his school in Frederick County; Sears was in attendance.

The stories of other connections to the trio now leading Virginia drew folks from all over the Commonwealth.

“For the first time we have an Attorney General, a Hispanic Attorney General and we have a great Governor,” said J.C. Lopez with the National Republican Coalition of Virginia.

Security was tight for this event - from street level to high above. Attendees were required to go through metal detectors upon entry.

“Piece of cake, it’s very efficient,” said Noreen Rodgers, of Virginia Beach. “They have that down pat.”

While the inauguration drew thousands of people to Richmond in the middle of the pandemic, masks were not required for the event. However, a handful of people did wear them throughout the ceremony.

COVID-19 prevented Youngkin’s gubernatorial challenger, Terry McAuliffe, from attending the inauguration due to quarantining from a close contact.

However, other dignitaries were in attendance, including former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell. Some folks at the Capitol said they attended his inauguration 12 years ago.

“It was a lot warmer then,” said Phil Bell, of Vienna. “I had less clothes on.”

“Our son marched in the VMI band,” said Barbara Gary, of Manakin-Sabot.

Overall, attendees walked away hopeful about the future under Youngkin’s leadership.

“It’s very historic and just excited about the new administration,” Gary said.

“Just the kind of resilience of Virginia, people having that new opportunity and feeling like we’re going back towards better days,” Bell added. “That’s what I saw here.”

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