Youngkin inaugural plans include pricey dinner, music acts

Free Press wire reports | 12/9/2021, 6 p.m.
Incoming Gov. Glenn A. Youngkin is planning a celebratory inaugural weekend that will include a mix of high-dollar ticketed events …
Gov.-elect Youngkin

Incoming Gov. Glenn A. Youngkin is planning a celebratory inaugural weekend that will include a mix of high-dollar ticketed events and other functions open to the public, according to a program that also touts an appearance by an unspecified Grammy-winning musical artist.

Gov.-elect Youngkin will be sworn in Jan. 15 as Virginia’s 74th governor and the first Republican elected to the office since 2009.

The political newcomer and former private equity executive defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in last month’s election, part of an exceedingly successful election cycle for Republicans. GOP candidates were elected to the offices of attorney general and lieutenant governor, and the party flipped control of the state House.

Gov.-elect Youngkin, who emphasized his outsider status and Virginia roots in his run, announced on Tuesday a schedule of events for the inaugural weekend under the theme, “Strengthen the Spirit of Virginia Together.” The Associated Press also obtained a program outlining each event and the associated costs in greater detail.

“The theme for inauguration weekend celebrates Virginia’s spirit — one linked to a rich history, but an even more exciting future as Virginians come together to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” Gov.-elect Youngkin and his wife, Suzanne, stated in a news release.

It’s standard for inaugural weekends full of pomp and circumstance to include both public and invite-only or ticketed functions. Multiple millions of dollars are typically raised by inaugural committees from corporate interests and other donors.

Gov.-elect Youngkin’s inaugural festivities will kick off the afternoon of Friday, Jan. 14, with a ladies-only “Spirit of Sisterhood” tea hosted by Mrs. Youngkin at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, according to the program. Lawmakers will host a welcome reception at a downtown hotel in the early evening hours, following by a ticketed, candlelight black tie dinner at the Science Museum of Virginia.

“Anticipate impromptu and programmed performances by artists and musicians from around the Commonwealth and enjoy an intimate evening with Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin and Suzanne Youngkin,” the program says about the dinner.

A single ticket costs $10,000, the document stated.

Inauguration Day will begin with a morning $50-a-ticket prayer breakfast at the historic Jefferson Hotel, followed by the inaugural ceremony at noon on the steps of the State Capitol, an event that’s free and open to the public. Saturday evening will feature a “celebration” at the Main Street Stadium event space.

The program says the $200-a-ticket event will feature a “soon to be announced Grammy award-winning national artist.”

A transition spokesman, Devin O’Malley, declined comment on an internal document. The news release did not mention an artist but said there would be live music.

The attire for Saturday night’s event was described as “casual creative,” and suggested patriotic colors, cowboy boots or a “Glenn vest,” like the red fleece type the candidate favored while campaigning.

The weekend will conclude with a “Spirit of Togetherness” open house Sunday at the Executive Mansion.

The program lists sponsorship package costs that run as high as $100,000, a price that covers 20 tickets to the Saturday evening event, plus multiple tickets to the Friday reception, dinner and tea. Youngkin’s transition team, led by former campaign staffer and Treasury Department official Jeff Goettman, has not yet announced key administration staffers or cabinet secretaries. The team has not been releasing to the press or public the governor-elect’s full schedule and has asked participants including lawmaker members to sign nondisclosure agreements.

The Youngkin transition has an office in a state government building near the Capitol, where they have been conducting at least some meetings, according to a security sign-in log obtained by AP through an open records request.

Last week, the transition team rolled out a list of scores of people taking part in groups dubbed “landing teams” led by GOP state lawmakers that were helping conduct “due diligence” across all state agencies.

The transition did not announce publicly that it has a number of lobbyists representing a wide range of corporate interests also involved with advising.

Five people with firsthand knowledge of participation by the lobbyists spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, either because they were not authorized to discuss the matter or to discuss private conversations candidly.

Mr. O’Malley said the transition has informal advisers that number in the hundreds and are assisting in a volunteer capacity.

A spokesman for Richmond-based political heavyweight Dominion Energy, which is typically represented on transition teams, declined to answer an inquiry from AP about whether any company representatives had been asked to participate.

Gov.-elect Youngkin’s inaugural committee — which must report any single donation of $10,000 or more within three days, according to the Virginia Public Access Project — has reported one such large donation so far.

The Breeden Company, a Virginia Beach- based real estate company, gave $250,000 on Nov. 29, according to a campaign finance filing.

Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares and Lt. Gov.-elect Winsome Sears, only the second woman to hold statewide office in Virginia, will also be sworn in Jan. 15.

An inaugural ball in Mr. Miyares’ honor will be held Friday, Jan. 14, in Richmond, a spokeswoman, Victoria LaCivita, said.

Chris Saxman, the transition director for Lt. Gov.-elect Sears, said a party in her honor would be held Thursday, Jan. 13.