Portrait of Virginia’s First Woman House Speaker To Be Unveiled at the Capitol

Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn D- Springfield attends a 4th Congressional District election party for state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, in Richmond, Va. Virginia voters on Tuesday elected McClellan, a veteran state legislator from Richmond, to fill an open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she will make history as the first Black woman to represent the state in Congress. (AP Photo/John C. Clark)

By Carolyn Fiddler

March 15, 2023

In 2020, Del. Eileen Filler-Corn became the first woman and first Jewish speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates. This week, the retiring delegate’s portrait will join those of the many men who previously held the position over its nearly centuries-spanning history.

When Del. Eileen Filler-Corn was elected speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates in 2020, she became the chamber’s 56th speaker and was the first woman and Jewish member to be elected to the position.

Filler-Corn became the first Democratic speaker in 20 years after her party won majority control of the House of Delegates in 2019. Though her tenure lasted only two years, its historic nature will not only leave a lasting impression on the role itself, but it will also be memorialized this week via the unveiling of her official portrait.

When it joins those of several of her predecessors on the House walls, it will reportedly be the first time a woman’s portrait has been displayed in the chamber.

The unveiling of Filler-Corn’s portrait is a coda to her time in the legislature; she was one of seven Democratic lawmakers from Northern Virginia to announce their retirement from the General Assembly in recent weeks. Her retirement caps a 14-year legislative career and is reportedly an initial step in a possible run for governor in 2025 (current Gov. Glenn Youngkin is prohibited from seeking reelection by Virginia law).

  • Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler is Dogwood's chief political correspondent. She is also the nation’s foremost expert in state politics with almost two decades of experience in statehouse machinations, and her comic book collection is probably bigger than yours.

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