Feb 2, 2023 - News

Virginia Democrats poised to block more Youngkin nominees

Photo illustration of Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin with lines radiating from him.

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios; Photo: Robb Hill/Washington Post via Getty Images

Another fight over Gov. Youngkin's nominees to key state posts is brewing in the General Assembly.

What’s happening: Senate Democrats signaled this week they might reject Youngkin's pick to lead the Virginia Department of Health and one of his appointees to the UVA Board of Visitors.

Details: Youngkin’s health director, Colin Greene, came under fire last year for his remarks downplaying the impact of racism on public health.

  • He told the Washington Post at the time that, "If you say 'racism,' you're blaming white people" — remarks that drew public rebuke even from Youngkin.

On the UVA Board of Visitors, Democrats targeted Youngkin's appointment of Bert Ellis, a South Carolina businessman who graduated from the school in '75.

What they’re saying: "I just don’t think a 60-something-year-old man who goes to the grounds with a razor blade of any kind in his pocket intent on taking something off a student's door, I don’t think that's appropriate," Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Charlottesville, said earlier this week, per the Virginia Mercury.

  • Youngkin’s press secretary, Macaulay Porter, said Youngkin “believes both Dr. Greene and Mr. Ellis are well-qualified for their posts.”

Flashback: Last year Democrats blocked Youngkin's appointment of Trump's former EPA director, Andrew Wheeler, to be his secretary of natural resources.

  • The standoff prompted Republicans in the House to block a handful of routine appointments by former Gov. Ralph Northam that had not yet been approved.
  • Youngkin ended up creating a new post in his administration for Wheeler that did not require General Assembly confirmation.
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