Meet Senator Jennifer McClellan
Jennifer McClellan's legislation is signed into law
Jennifer McClellan at the General Assembly
Senator McClellan Meets with constituents
Jennifer McClellan accepting the VEA Legislative Champion Award

Latest News

Jan15

RICHMOND — As Virginia faces an estimated $1.26 billion budget shortfall, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus announced that its top priority during the General Assembly’s session is to protect funding for K-12 education.

Additionally, the VLBC will focus on criminal justice reform, job creation, increasing the minimum wage and public safety.

“These are the issues we will continue to fight for because there must be a change,” Del. Roslyn Tyler, a Democrat from Jarratt and president of the caucus, said at a news conference Wednesday.

In November, Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration warned higher education officials at Virginia’s public colleges and universities to anticipate a 7.5 percent reduction from the state general fund. The VBLC said it wants to protect the K-12 budget so schools have the money for academic excellence.

The 17 African American lawmakers are all Democrats, but they hope to work across party lines on issues such as reforming school discipline. For example, the VBLC said it supports three bills filed by Republican Sen. William Stanley of Moneta:

  • SB 995, which would reduce maximum suspensions from 364 calendar days to 45 school days and prohibit long-term suspension from continuing on beyond the current school year.
  • SB 996, which would protect students from expulsion and long-term suspension for disruptive behavior except in cases of physical injury or threat of physical injury.
  • SB 997, which would prohibit suspension or expulsion or students in preschool through fifth grade except for drug offenses, firearms or certain criminal acts.

Republican Del. Richard Bell of Staunton has introduced similar legislation in the House: HB 1534 to reduce the length of suspensions, HB 1535 to prevent expulsion and long-term suspension except in cases of physical injury and HB 1536 to limit the circumstances under which preschool and elementary students can be suspended or expelled.

VLBC member Jennifer McClellan, a state delegate from Richmond, cited findings from the Center for Public Integrity that Virginia schools refer students to law enforcement at nearly three times the national rate.

McClellan, who was elected to the Senate on Tuesday, said that African American students were more likely than white students to be suspended and that students with disabilities were more likely to be suspended than those without disabilities.

The VLBC also wants to boost the minimum wage, which in Virginia is the same as the federal minimum – $7.25 per hour.

Sen. Rosalyn Dance, D-Petersburg, introduced SB 978, which would incrementally increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by July 1, 2019.

“When people are working, there is less crime,” Dance said.

She said 19 states, including Washington and California, have already increased the minimum wage.

Story by Jessica Nolte with Capital News Service.

Capital News Service is a flagship program of VCU’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students participating in the program provide state government coverage for Virginia’s community newspapers and other media outlets, under the supervision of Associate Professor Jeff South.


Jan15

Democrat Jennifer McClellan has represented Richmond in Virginia’s House of Delegates for 11 years, but now she’s looking for a change. She’s running for an open seat in Virginia’s State Senate. That district includes much of Richmond City, and parts of Henrico, Hanover, and Charles City counties.

If she wins Tuesday’s special election, McClellan will go from the 100-member House to the 40-member Senate. She sat down with Richmond reporter Mallory Noe-Payne to talk about what switching could mean for her priorities as a lawmaker.

Click here to listen to audio of interview.

 
Jan15

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia State delegate Jennifer McClellan (D.) won Virginia’s 9th Senate District seat in a special election held Tuesday.

McClellan won the seat in a landslide victory over Corey Fauconier (Libertarian) garnering 95 percent of the vote.

“Congratulations to my good friend, Senator-Elect Jennifer McClellan on her victory in Virginia’s 9th Senatorial District,” said Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) Chairwoman Susan Swecker. “From community leader, to the House of Delegates, and now State Senator – Jennifer is a proven leader who fights for all Virginians. Our Virginia Democratic family is proud of her achievements, and look forward to what lies ahead for her new role in Virginia’s Senate.”

McClellan previously represented the 71st District in the House of Delegates, which she had served in since 2006.

The 9th District seat was open after State Senator Donald McEachin won the congressional race for Virginia’s 4th district seat in November.

Before Election Day, McClellan received endorsements from Governor Terry McAuliffe, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and former seat holder and U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin.

The 9th Senate District is a heavily Democratic district, made up of parts of Richmond, Henrico, and Hanover, along with all of Charles City County.

Jan9
We've accomplished so much together in a short time.
Since the start, supporters like you across the district have taken action to help our campaign, knocking doors, making phone calls, hosting events, and donating--now we're less than 24 hours away from the Special Election that could send me to the Senate. 

In order for us to win tomorrow, we'll need a strong voter turnout in the district on my behalf. With Special Elections, turnout is particularly important. With bad weather like we have now, it's especially important that good voters like you vote. We'll need every vote to win. So please grab a friend and head to the polls to vote tomorrow
 
Here's everything thing you need to know about voting tomorrow:
  • In order to have your vote counted you must vote at your polling place. You can find your polling place here
  • If you have requested a ballot and have not mailed it yet, you can still vote. Bring your completed ballot with you to your local registrar's office, or cast your ballot in person at your polling place by 7 p.m.
  • If you run into any issues at the polls, or have any questions about voting please do not hesitate to call the voter protection hotline: 844-4VA-VOTE.
  • If you anticipate needing a ride to get to the polls on election day, please call our campaign 804-482-0714.

Our Newsletters

We are now in the final week of the 2017 Session. We still have quite a bit of work to do, as a number of bills, including the budget, are in conference committees to work out differences between the House and Senate versions. Last week the Senate passed a number of controversial bills.

Last week the House and Senate adopted amendments to the 2016-2018 budget to address a projected $279.3 million revenue shortfall. The Senate budget reflects its top priorities of supporting mental health programs, avoiding spending cuts for public education and safety net programs, and providing an overdue pay raise for all state employees and teachers.  Specifically, the Senate budget proposes a 3 percent raise for state classified employees, a 2 percent raise for college and university faculty, the state share of a 2 percent raise for public school teachers, and a 2 percent raise for state-supported local employees.  Instead of providing a raise for teachers, the House budget increases funding for school divisions, which may use the money for raises or for other priorities. 

 

Last week, the General Assembly reached "Crossover," the mid-point of Session when the House and Senate must complete work on their own bills. Many of the bills my constituents have written or called me about were addressed prior to crossover and summarized in prior updates. Here is an overview of other bills acted upon last week.