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Virginia's transition of power underway; Youngkins join Northams for lunch at Executive Mansion

Virginia's transition of power underway; Youngkins join Northams for lunch at Executive Mansion

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Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin talks about the lunch he and his wife Suzanne Youngkin had with Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pam Northam at the Virginia Executive Mansion Thursday, November 4, 2021. Alexa Welch Edlund/Times-Dispatch

Virginia’s transition of power began Thursday with a lunch at the Executive Mansion between outgoing Gov. Ralph Northam and Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin, who will be sworn in January.

The Democrat and the Republican, along with their wives, met for about an hour, to lay the groundwork for a smooth transition.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do. Day one is going to come fast,” Youngkin said after the meeting. “I just so appreciate your willingness to be so helpful as we head onto this next stage of Virginia’s future.”

In a short appearance before the press, Northam and Youngkin sought to model cordiality: Northam joked about “shooting some hoops” with Youngkin, who played basketball at Rice University, while Youngkin said a “friendship” was budding between the two officials.

Northam gifted Youngkin’s wife, Suzanne, a “challenge coin,” bearing a picture of the mansion and the state’s seal. Northam’s wife, Pam, offered the future first lady a bouquet of flowers.

Youngkin said his welcome to the Executive Mansion was “incredibly humbling,” and said Northam offered himself up as a resource for questions.

Northam, in what seemed like the beginning of his goodbye, took a moment to thank mansion staff, his security staff, the Virginia press corps and others for their service throughout his administration.

Northam, a physician, took office in 2018 as Virginia’s 73rd governor. Virginia is the only state that bars its governors from serving consecutive terms.

“We look forward to Mr. Youngkin and his wife taking over and continuing on a lot of the good progress that we’ve made,” Northam said.

Over the next several weeks, Youngkin will build out a transition team, appoint officials to his Cabinet and form an agenda for the legislative session.

Youngkin’s transition team will be led by Jeff Goettman, the chief operating officer of his campaign for governor, according to an aide for the transition.

Goettman previously worked for the U.S. Treasury in the Trump administration.

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