WASHINGTON—Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin announced today that The Heritage Foundation's President Kay C. James will serve as co-chairman of his gubernatorial transition team along with state Sen. Steve Newman. James is a lifelong Virginia resident who currently serves as president of the nation’s premier conservative think tank.
“In order to change the trajectory of our great commonwealth, we must hit the ground running on Day One,” Youngkin said. “This incredible and diverse transition team consists of talented individuals from throughout the commonwealth with a mix of seasoned and fresh perspectives that will allow that transformation—where Virginia soars and never settles.”
James has served in a number of policy and public service roles in Virginia, most notably as secretary of health and human resources for Gov. George Allen and as a member of the Virginia State Board of Education, the Virginia Commonwealth University board of visitors, and the Fairfax County School Board. James shares Youngkin’s passion for education reform.
“Serving as co-chairman of the transition team is an honor, and one that allows me to help our governor-elect realize his truly outstanding vision for Virginia,” James said. “Glenn understands the old axiom about government that personnel is policy. He campaigned on issues critical to Virginians and offered real, workable solutions to those issues. Now, in order to make those solutions a reality, he needs people throughout his administration who share his vision, who are just as passionate about making them a reality as he is. I’m ready to help identify those people and get this administration staffed up so they can get to work implementing those solutions on day one.”
Youngkin ran on a platform of putting parents in charge of their children’s education and speaking out against restrictive COVID rules, divisive critical race theory, and radical gender ideology in the classroom; fully funding law enforcement and keeping violent criminals off the streets; and protecting Virginians from forced unionization; among other conservative goals.
“This appointment is phenomenal news for Virginians,” said Tommy Binion, Heritage’s vice president of government relations and a Virginian. “Kay James burns with a passion for Gov.-elect Youngkin’s priorities of education, following the rule of law, and maintaining fiscal sanity in government. Of course, she brings tremendous experience, but it’s her grit, determination, and fearlessness that will serve the governor-elect and the commonwealth the most. And as The Heritage Foundation would do with any governor, we will offer any and all appropriate support the Youngkin team needs and ensure they have available to them the proven public policy solutions to address the big issues Virginians face.”
Lindsey M. Burke, Ph.D., director of the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation, will also serve on the transition team. She will focus on education and help to outline an agenda to ensure K-12 schools are accountable to families.
“I am honored to serve on the transition team and look forward to advancing policies that make Virginia's education system responsive and accountable to parents, putting them in charge. It's not the education bureaucracy but parents and students who should be in the driver's seat,” Burke said.