For the first time ever, a Black woman will represent Virginia in Congress

Democrat Jennifer McClellan has made history as the first Black woman to represent Virginia in Congress, U.S. media projected Tuesday. The 50-year-old state legislator from Richmond defeated Republican Leon Benjamin in Tuesday’s special election in the 4th Congressional District.

She will succeed Democrat Rep. Donald McEachin, who died last November not too long after winning re-election. McClellan will also now be among  29 other Black women in the House and she wants to ensure that she will not be the last, she said.

A member of the state Senate since 2017, McClellan served 11 years in the House of Delegates and ran for governor in 2021 but lost. The legislator and mom of two’s campaign message centered on expanding voting rights, protecting domestic workers and access to abortion, and ensuring environmental justice. She has over the years sponsored bills catering to the above.

She is all about voting rights because of how her family members, who were mostly domestic workers, struggled to vote in the past. McClellan recalled in an interview that her grandfather had to take a literacy test before he could vote while her great-grandfather was nearly denied the right to vote because of his role as a community leader.

“I brought those experiences and those stories with me into the public policy arena,” McClellan said. A graduate of a suburban Richmond high school, McClellan developed an interest in politics while in middle school. She became a student at the University of Richmond and earned her law degree from the University of Virginia. She is an associate general counsel for Verizon, where she has worked for 20 years, according to AP.

“It still blows my mind that we’re having firsts in 2023,” McClellan said in an interview. “My ancestors fought really hard to have a seat at that table, and now not only will I have a seat at the table in Congress; I’ll be able to bring that policymaking table into communities that never really had a voice before.”

Mildred Europa Taylor

Mildred Europa Taylor is a writer and content creator. She loves writing about health and women's issues in Africa and the African diaspora.

Recent Posts

Philanthropist sets up $2.5M scholarship fund after he and his twin struggled to make it through college

Dale E. has taken action to make sure that other students do not experience the…

5 hours ago

Olympic champion Michael Johnson forming new league to help track and field athletes commercialize their rights

Michael Johnson is returning to sports but in a different way. He is teaming up…

6 hours ago

After selling his company for over $100M, Swanston makes history owning pro soccer team in Connecticut

Meet Andre Swanston; he is Connecticut's first black majority owner of a pro sports team.…

6 hours ago

How this father and daughter both became franchisees of McDonald’s

Entrepreneur Mya Smith-Edmonds followed in her father’s footsteps to become a McDonald's franchisee. According to…

6 hours ago

Rihanna and A$AP Rocky unleash their irresistible charm in a short film to advertise their new project

Get ready to swoon as Rihanna and A$AP Rocky bring their irresistible charm to the…

8 hours ago

Beyoncé’s ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’ accused of copying this beloved cartoon theme song as composer speaks

Call it a trigger of millennial nostalgia following the release of Beyoncé’s country song "Texas…

10 hours ago