Filler-Corn reflects on first year as House Speaker

House Speaker Reflects On First Year
Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 8:49 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - The moment when Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn was sworn in as speaker of the Virginia house last January was historic.

She became the first woman to lead the chamber in the House of Delegates’ 400-year history, and her arrival also signaled new priorities for the legislature.

“I pledge to reach for a more just and prosperous future for all Virginians,” she said in a speech to the members.

A year later, Filler-Corn says she and her Democratic colleagues have delivered on issues including COVID-19, racial equity, gun violence prevention and criminal justice reform.

“We have been very clear with our goals, with our objectives, where we stand,” Filler-Corn told WDBJ7 Wednesday afternoon. “And I can say that we really have moved the ball forward and passed legislation that will do exactly that.”

Virginia Republicans disagree on many of the Democratic priorities.

House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert spoke about criminal justice reform in an interview earlier this month.

“Common sense does not reign right now when it comes to criminal justice,” Gilbert said, “and I feel like our Democratic colleagues are making a real mess right now of our criminal justice and our public safety.”

Republicans have also been critical of the virtual session that House Democrats implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Filler-Corn said her goal is to meet in person as soon as possible, but argued the virtual sessions have been working well, while protecting the health of members and their staff. And she said the virtual sessions have allowed Virginians to testify without traveling to Richmond.

“I’m proud of all of our work,” Filler-Corn said, “and again right now we’re trying to get everybody through this next crisis. And we’re off to a really great start with just two weeks into the session.”

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