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

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RICHMOND – Today, Senator Scott Surovell’s (D-Mount Vernon) bill, SB817, soared through the Senate unanimously. The bill adds travel to and from a job interview to the list of purposes for the issuance of a restricted driver’s license.

Said Senator Surovell, “Not only is this a measure that will help get people back to work, it is also a great step towards preventing recidivism. Former criminals who have paid their dues are up against enough barriers as it is when it comes to finding employment. We want these people to find jobs and to be able to support themselves, so it is incumbent upon us to find ways to make it easier for them to rejoin the workforce – not harder – especially as we work to keep them on the right side of the law.”
Said Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), “This is a victory for Virginians who are trying to pick themselves up and dust themselves off. The more we can do to help these people return to work, the less likely they are to slip back into a life of crime. Successful reintegration into the workforce is paramount to that mission. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in support of this initiative.”

Listen to the interview here.

Virginia Senator Jennifer McClellan (District-09) keeps an “Eye on the G-A” with Miss Community Clovia about Remaining At Place of Riot or Unlawful Assembly After Warning To Disperse; penalty. Clovia features a segment called “Keeping An Eye on the G-A” for citizens who can’t make it to the Virginia General Assembly sessions often. The segment airs Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays at 7:11 a.m. on 99.3/105.7 Kiss Fm and at 7:18 a.m. on Praise 104.7 Fm.

The newly elected Senator McClellan opposes (SB1055) that passed out of the Senate Courts committee on MLK Day. View the tracking of the bill that may violate a peaceful protest if a riot occurs. The current fine is $500 and a misdemeanor charge. If this unlawful riot bill passes the full house, persons protesting could be charge with a class 1 misdemeanor and serve up to one year in jail. Track (SB1055) courtesy of Richmond Sunlight.

Contact Senator Jennifer McClellan by email at or by phone at 804-698-7509.


Members of the General Assembly paused Monday to recognize the late Martin Luther King, Jr. It happened on the federal, state and local holiday that honors the slain civil rights leader.

The newest African-American in the State Senate has urged Virginians to honor King’s legacy. Jennifer McClellan (D- Richmond) says there are many ways to accomplish that, including treating others with respect. McClellan also noted Virginia is creating an Emancipation Proclamation and Freedom Monument. It’s scheduled to go on Brown’s Island in the James River. The target date is 2019, the 400th anniversary of the first slaves arriving at Jamestown.


RICHMOND, Va. -- More than 1,000 protesters gathered at the Lee Statue on Monument Avenue on Saturday and marched to Boulevard in solidarity with next week’s Women’s March on Washington protesting Donald Trump’s inauguration as president.

State officials and local activists gave speeches before and after the march, urging more public participation in politics and activism to counter the Trump administration.

“We will fight like we’ve never fought before to make sure all people are treated with love and respect,” Democratic state Sen. Jennifer McClellan of Richmond told the crowd. “We are strong because of this beautiful mosaic of people.”

Many nonprofit advocacy groups – including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Richmond Health Brigade and the Richmond Peace Education Center – had representatives at the event.

“It’s a time where there’s a lot of uncertainty,” said Betsy Brinson, a board member for the Peace Education Center. “There’s major peace issues involved at all levels.”

Brinson, a retired Virginia Commonwealth University faculty member, said she been involved with the center for more than 30 years.

“We do youth projects that teach conflict resolution, racial justice and international affairs,” Brinson said. “We are trying to educate people so they can speak out the best way they know how.”

For some, the presidential election was a galvanizing call to action, inspiring citizens to protest for the first time.

“I’ve never been really political before,” said Richmond resident Renee Ramos. “I’ve never marched in anything before.”

Ramos said that from Trump’s policies to his behavior on the national stage, she had to do something to protest his incoming administration.

“This is my first protest,” said Joy Whitenack of Richmond. “We can’t just go out and vote anymore. It’s time to really support justice and equal rights for everyone in the country.”

She said the change in political dialogue and climate over the last few years prompted her to protest.

“It was as great warm-up for next week,” Whitenack said, referring to the Women’s March on Washington, which organizers predict will draw more than 200,000 people.

For others, this was another march in a decades-long fight.

“I used to march a lot in Washington,” said Sherry Baxter of Richmond. “I marched in ’87, in Roe v. Wade and in 2000.”

Baxter said her child was taken from her in the ’80s because she was a lesbian, and that’s when she began marching for civil rights. Unable to find other mothers in the same situation, she said she first marched with gay fathers who had lost their children under similar circumstances.

The parade also played host to large puppet displays and a baton-twirling stilt walker dressed as Uncle Sam.

“I walk on stilts because it’s something you can’t ignore,” said Marcus Fioravante. “People are deaf to most signs and things. What art does to activism is beautiful.”

Building the stilts from found materials like discarded wood, Fioravante said he’s been performing and drawing attention to causes and protests like the March on Monument for three years.

“It confuses the opposition,” said puppeteer Lily Lamberta, founder of All The Saints Theater Company. “It brings a level of circus, color and creativity. You can say really hard-hitting things in a playful and obscure way.”

Just returning from protesting in Standing Rock, North Dakota, last month, Lamberta has been using large symbolic puppetry for protests in Richmond for more than 11 years.

Among the puppets carried in the parade was the “Wake-up Rooster,” which Lamberta said was meant to communicate that it’s time for the American people to wake up to the present dangers and take action.

Lamberta said she plans to take the puppets to Washington next week to protest the inauguration.
Saturday’s march concluded several blocks from the intersection of Monument Avenue and Boulevard, where a small stage was erected for McClellan and newly elected U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin to speak.

“We are going to revisit everything that makes America great,” said McEachin, a Democrat representing the 4th

Congressional District. “It’s about diversity. It’s about love, not hate.”
McEachin said his first objective in office is to protect the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans have vowed to repeal.

“They’ve been talking trash for six years, and now they don’t have a plan,” McEachin said. “If they had a replacement, we would’ve seen it by now.”

McEachin said he would push to uncover the influence and scale of Russian cyberattacks during the past election cycle.

“We will not be afraid of the truth, and we will act on that truth,” McEachin said. “Please do not get weary in your well-doing. Democracy is a participatory sport – you need to participate.”

By Jesse Adcock 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.

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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.