Home » Virginia’s Jennifer McClellan reacts to historic election to Congress, plans to tackle climate change

Virginia’s Jennifer McClellan reacts to historic election to Congress, plans to tackle climate change

by The Grio

This week, Jennifer McClellan made history when she became the first Black woman to be elected to Virginia’s 4th Congressional District.

On Tuesday, she defeated her Republican challenger, Leon Benjamin, during a special election for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, NBC 12 reported.

McClellan told theGrio, “It blows my mind we’re still having firsts. But, it’s a tremendous honor and responsibility to ensure that I am continuing to support and bring up the next generation of Black women leaders.”

She added, “I think about not only where my family has been, but also, that I am the first Black woman from Virginia which was the birthplace of American democracy – but was also the birthplace of American slavery.”

McClellan, who served in Virginia’s state Senate before being elected to her federal position, will finish out the rest of Democratic Rep. Donald McEachin’s fourth term. McEachin represented Virginia’s 4th Congressional District from 2017 until Nov. 2022 when he passed away at the age of 61.

McClellan told theGrio that carrying out McEachin’s term is “bittersweet.”

“It was a huge loss, losing a friend, colleague and mentor, but I partnered with him on a lot of issues over the years. I’m ready to build on his legacy in a way that I know he would be proud of,” she said.

In the past, McClellan has advocated for voting rights and healthcare, however, during her time in Congress she plans to switch gears and tackle “climate change and the transition to clean renewable energy.”

Quentin James, president of The Collective PAC – a political group that aims to elect Black candidates to public office – told theGrio that Congressman McEachin was known for his “work around environmental justice” and believes that McClellan will continue his efforts.

“I think that’s one area where Jennifer will lead in. Making sure folks are employed…

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