Virginia Rep.-elect Jennifer McClellan (D) is poised to make history when she is sworn into Congress, becoming the first Black woman to represent the commonwealth on Capitol Hill.
The nature of her historic win wasn’t lost on her. McClellan told The Hill that during her campaigning, she was “very aware” of what a win would mean not just for her, but also for Black women across the nation.
“It still blows my mind that there are firsts in 2023 but it is a tremendous honor and a tremendous responsibility,” McClellan, 50, said. “It’s an honor knowing that I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams and I stand on their shoulders. To be the first Black woman from Virginia, the birthplace of both American democracy and American slavery and massive resistance, is poetic justice.”
McClellan’s political rise has been a gradual one, serving in Virginia’s House of Delegates and state Senate. In 2021, she came in a distant third place in the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, losing to former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).