Eileen Filler-Corn is more than a “first” person woman for Virginia’s future

November 24, 2019

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Eileen Filler-Corn

Eileen Filler-Corn

Democrats flipped both the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates on November 5.

Days later, Eileen Filler-Corn won a competitive race for the top spot in the House, beating out three opponents. Already making history in Virginia as the first Jewish woman minority leader, Filler-Corn is breaking yet another barrier becoming both the first woman and the first Jewish Speaker of the House.

For many, these firsts are a sign of hope and a referendum on how Virginians envision an inclusive legislature, signaling a Virginia in transition.

“The firsts are not lost on me—the first woman and the first Jewish person elected Speaker-designee in our 400-year legislative history—but it doesn’t define me. When I joined this body less than 10 years ago, I was the only mom serving with school-aged kids. We have come so far since then,” Filler-Corn said, touting the legislative body’s cultural, gender, and geographic diversity in a CNN interview.

“The big deal about her win is women are the catalysts for major change in Virginia—from finally ratifying the ERA to enacting commonsense gun legislation,” says Susan Loesberg, a local activist.

In last year’s General Assembly session, the ERA bill passed the Republican led Senate, but failed in the Republican led House. “Filler-Corn will make history by ensuring that Virginia will be the 38th state, and last state needed, to ratify the ERA,” Loesberg says, who holds leadership roles with multiple organizations including Moms Demand Action. “With the Democrats winning the legislature, and Filler-Corn at the helm, we can pass Governor Northam’s slate of commonsense gun reforms.”

Filler-Corn’s transition team met Friday, November 22. Jody Wagner, a member of the transition team, is expected to work on issues dealing with House Appropriations and the budget, based on her experience as State Treasurer and Secretary of Finance. “I am most excited that important issues that have been blocked from consideration by the prior Speaker, can now be addressed,” says Wagner. “For example, reasonable legislation to protect all of us from gun violence.

“I was honored that Speaker-Elect Filler-Corn asked me to serve on the Transition Team. The General Assembly will be facing significant issues that affect all of our families, from gun violence to funding of services such as education. Setting up the right structure to address those issues is very important,” says Wagner.

Lisa Richmon

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