Virginia’s House Democrats are set to rally behind a new leader, as Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) takes the reins of caucus leadership from outgoing minority leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) beginning January 1st, before the 2019 legislative session convenes.
First elected in 2009, Filler-Corn would be the first woman to lead a caucus in the chamber’s 400-year history.
A lawyer by trade, Filler-Corn currently serves as Director of Government Relations at the Arlington lobbying firm Albers & Company. Previously, she served as an advisor to governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.
A close ally of Governor Ralph Northam, she has thrown her support behind his budget proposal, which calls for increased spending and includes a $1.2 billion tax hike on 600,000 middle class taxpayers, the Washington Post reported.
A passionate liberal, Filler-Corn has also made stronger gun control a leading priority, routinely scoring near the bottom of all lawmakers on Second Amendment issues, while leading protests calling for additional restrictions on law-abiding citizens outside the headquarters of the NRA.
The “Safe Virginia” initiative, in which she played a leading role, was convened to propose new gun control laws in the 2019 session.
As minority leader, Filler-Corn will enjoy considerable influence in setting the agenda and the tone for the House Democratic caucus, from guiding the introduction of bills, to serving as a messaging leader in the press.
According to the Washington Post, she has promised to “give a voice to the full spectrum of delegates” — which includes some of the caucus’s more left-wing members, such as self-described “socialist” Lee Carter (D-Manassas), as well as Hala Ayala (D-Prince William), who Filler-Corn recruited to run.
In securing the top spot, Filler-Corn beat out four challengers, including a strong campaign run by Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) back on December 8, in a closed-door caucus election.
As a prolific fundraiser from the Northern Virginia circuit, Filler-Corn is expected to steer considerable amounts of campaign cash to targeted districts in her bid to win control of the House of Delegates next year. Unlike some colleagues, including challenger Rasoul, Filler-Corn accepts money from lobbyists and PACs, which she is expected to distribute among her members, including to those who claim to not accept such contributions directly.