- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Virginia swore in its first woman speaker of the House of Delegates Wednesday, kicking off a state General Assembly session for the history books.

Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, a Democrat from Fairfax County, is also the first Jewish person to hold the post in the country’s oldest continuous legislative body, which is now in its 401st year.

“A new torch is being passed today - one that ushers in a modern era representing all Virginians,” Ms. Filler-Corn said as she took the dais.

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Democrats won control of the House and Senate in November’s elections, and with Gov. Ralph Northam in the executive mansion they have a chance to pass bills that have been waiting for more than a quarter of century.

That includes ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adding new gun controls to the state’s laws, and expanding anti-discrimination protections.

The agenda will play out over the next 60 days of the assembly’s session, but Wednesday was about the new faces in new jobs.

Delegate Charmiele L. Herring, who represents Alexandria, becomes the first woman and first black person to be majority leader.

And Ms. Filler-Corn has named the first minority women to committee chairs.

“We represent groups that haven’t always been heard in the halls of power,” she said.

Republicans had held the majority in the House for 20 years until last year’s elections.

In the Senate, where Democrats also won back the majority they’d lost in 2013, the changes were less dramatic.

Sen. Richard L. Saslaw, Fairfax Democrat and a four-decade veteran, returns to the majority leader’s post.

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