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2018-19 Leader-in-Residence: Jennifer McClellan

Virginia State Senator

Jennifer McClellan was elected to the Senate of Virginia in January 2017. She serves on the Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, Local Government, and Transportation committees. She serves as chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission, co-chair of the Capital Region Caucus, and vice chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. She serves on the Southern Regional Education Board Legislative Advisory Council and is a 2018 Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellow. She has served as a guest columnist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch during the General Assembly Session since 2008.   

Previously, Jennifer was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates for 11 years, serving on the House Education, Commerce and Labor, and Courts of Justice committees. She chaired Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Transition Team, served in Gov. Ralph Northam’s Transition Team, and was appointed by previous governors to various commissions.

Respected on both sides of the aisle and the recipient of numerous awards, Jennifer has earned a reputation as an effective, constituent-services-oriented legislator who can find common ground with Republicans, while standing up for progressive values. She has been a leader on improving education, breaking the school-to-prison pipeline, reforming the criminal justice system, combatting domestic and sexual violence, diversifying Virginia’s economy, and championing affordable housing, civil rights, and ethics reform. As the only House member to be pregnant while in office, she has been a fierce protector of women’s reproductive rights, children, and families.

Jennifer’s legislative accomplishments include establishing anti-bullying and lactation policies in public schools; strengthening family life education curriculum to prevent sexual and domestic violence and child abuse; reporting school discipline outcomes by race, gender, ethnicity, and disability; clarifying responsibilities of school resource officers; increasing penalties for stalking; strengthening law enforcement tools to combat crimes against children; reforming Virginia’s child marriage laws; authorizing new business models, such as benefit corporations; establishing protections against predatory lending; and eliminating mandated waiting periods for sterilization.

Jennifer currently serves as a member of the boards of YWCA Richmond, the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood, The Children’s Museum of Richmond, Chippenham-Johnston Willis Hospital, Virginia Premier Health Plans, and the Virginia Bar Association. She has been a Democratic Party activist and leader at the local, state, and national level. She currently serves on the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Party of Virginia Steering Committee.

Jennifer serves as associate general counsel for state regulatory and government affairs for the Mid-Atlantic at Verizon Communications. She has been an active member and held leadership positions in the Virginia State Bar, the Virginia Bar Association, and several local and specialty bar associations.  

Jennifer was born in Petersburg, Va. She received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Richmond and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia. She is married to David Mills and has two children, Jackson and Samantha.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Sen. Jennifer McClellan presents "Where Do We Go From Here" on Wed., March 27 at 4:30 p.m. in the Jepson Alumni Center, Robins Pavilion. A reception will follow. REGISTER to attend.