This column was submitted by Del. Paul Krizek (D-44).
Last Saturday, our newly-elected Democratic majority in the House of Delegates met in Richmond to select our next Speaker of the House as well as Majority Leader and Caucus Leader.
Virginia made history once again as my colleagues and I elected Del. Eileen Filler-Corn as the first female Speaker of the House in the Commonwealth’s 400-year history. She will also be the first Jewish Speaker of the House in the history of the General Assembly.
Del. Charniele Herring was elected as Majority Leader. She is the first African American to hold that position. Del. Rip Sullivan was elected as Caucus Leader.
In just two years, Democrats have flipped 21 total seats in the House of Delegates, creating Democratic control for the first time since the year 2000. These elections have created a monumental shift, not just in the balance of power in the General Assembly, but in representation.
There are now more women in the General Assembly than ever before in Virginia’s history. The House of Delegates will now seat 30 women, and out of 40 members, there will be 11 women in the Senate. While these numbers fall short of parity with the proportion of women in the total population, this is a step in the right direction.
The number of African Americans in the General Assembly will reach the highest level seen since the Reconstruction Era. In addition, the first ever Indian-American, Delegate-Elect Suhas Subramanyam, was elected to the House of Delegates, and the first Muslim woman, Senator-Elect Ghazala Hasmi, will be seated in the Senate.
Increasing the diversity within our caucus as well as within our leadership will continue to help us better serve the needs of our many diverse communities around the Commonwealth.