Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin is a Generational Talent

Raynard Jackson

In sports, we describe people like N.B.A. great Michael Jordan as a generational talent; meaning their skill set is so great that they will dominate their profession and have a lasting legacy that will transcend many generations.

As I reflect on my personal interactions with Virginia’s new governor, Glenn Youngkin, I view him as a generational political talent.  Yes, I know it is early in the season, but the potential is definitely there for everyone to see.

Youngkin is new to politics and in many ways

 is a blank figure politically.  When assessing someone, you must look at what they have done, as well as what their raw skill set indicates they can do.

No one thought Michael Jordan would turn out to be as great as he was.  Everyone knew he had special talents, but no one could have ever predicted how great he would turn out to be.
Younkin has no political past to evaluate, but you can project his future by judging his person.  He has an uncanny ability to disarm even his enemies and to draw in his supporters.

I am reminded of the Apostle Paul from the book of Acts in the Bible.  Paul was brought before King Agrippa to answer the charge that he was teaching against the law of Moses.  Paul’s refutation of the charges brought against him was so power that King Agrippa responded by saying in Acts 26:28:  “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”

In a similar manner, Youngkin can usher in an era of increased support from the Black community both in Virginia and across the country.

Gov. Youngkin, I beseech thee by the mercies of God, please, please, PLEASE don’t do what most Republicans do.  In reaching out to the Black community they tend to run to the most radical Democrat elements in the Black community; the local N.A.A.C.P. the local Urban League, etc.

Before you reach out, please first reach in!!!

There are a lot of Black Republicans who have been totally disengaged, including me, from state politics because the party has shown absolutely no interest in having “substantive” engagement with the Black community.  And remember, engaging with Blacks is not the same as engaging with the “right” Blacks.

The first thing that must be done is to engage with Black Republican business owners.  We have Black entrepreneurs here in Virginia who are doing millions and millions of dollars of business but see absolutely no value in interacting with Republicans, even though they might vote for Republican candidates; they feel that their input into policy is not welcomed.
Youngkin is the closest person I have seen to my good friend, former Congressman Jack Kemp.

Kemp was a former N.F.L. quarterback, former U.S. Congressman, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development for former president George H.W. Bush.  He was the Abraham Lincoln of our day.  Unfortunately, he died thirteen years ago.

No one has even come close to Jack Kemp, until Youngkin came along.

Kemp, as a white, conservative Republican, was able to bridge political and racial gaps like no other person in recent history.  Google him if you want to find out more about this American hero.

I am very critical of our party nationally because they have yet to show any interest in engaging with the Black community in any meaningful way.

They showcase Blacks who are nothing more than a modern-day minstrel show.  They showcase Blacks who have absolutely no connection to the Black community.

Former British Prime minister Winston Churchill once stated, “To every man there comes a time in his life when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a great and mighty thing; unique to him and fitted to his talents.  What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the moment that could be his finest hour.”

In today’s politically charged and racially polarized times, Youngkin has been tapped on the shoulder and given the opportunity to lead the people of Virginia for four years.  I think he will be found very prepared and quite qualified for this moment that could and will be his finest hour.

There is something special about Virginia’s Republican first ladies.  George Allen and Jim Gilmore’s wives, Susan and Roxanne, respectively were great first ladies while in office and long after leaving office. They are still making a difference in the lives of Virginians.

I expect nothing less from our current first lady, Suzanne.  She is such a sincere, engaging and delightful person.  Look for her to do some unique things as our first lady.

In politics, personnel is policy.  By this standard, Youngkin is off to a good start.  He has three Blacks in his cabinet of thirteen (23%).  Kay Cole James, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Craig Crenshaw, Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, and Angela Sailor, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer.

I hope Governor Youngkin will take advantage of James’ institutional knowledge of Virginia’s history, the good and the bad; but also take advantage of her political brilliance.

She is a living legend and a Civil Rights icon.  Not only can she keep your administration out of trouble; she can prevent your administration from ever getting into trouble.

When I first met Youngkin last summer he bounced into the room full of energy and optimism about life and his campaign.  It is literally impossible to be around him and be sad; I don’t care how bad your day is going.

His default position is always how do we solve this problem and how do we bring people together?

Youngkin can and I hope will be the Nicolas Dreystadt of the Republican Party.  Who is Nicolas Dreystadt, you might be asking?  Dreystadt was a General Motors executive who saved Cadillac automobile from going out of business during World War II.  He used the Black community to save Cadillac and Blacks are the reason it retains its iconic brand to this day .

I wrote a column about this issue ten years ago.  Click on this link to read it.

So, the next time you see Gov. Glenn Youngkin, just call him Nick!!!

[Raynard Jackson is a Pulitzer Award nominated columnist and founder and chairman of Black Americans for a Better Future (BAFBF), a federally registered 527 Super PAC established to get more Blacks involved in the Republican Party. BAFBF focuses on the Black entrepreneur. For more information about BAFBF, visit www.bafbf.org. You can follow Raynard on Twitter; RealRaynardJ.]

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