Jenn’s Perspective

For 16 legislative sessions, Jenn has walked past the statue of former senator and segregationist Harry Byrd in Richmond’s Capitol Square knowing that she is his worst nightmare: A Black woman, a descendent of enslaved people, and the daughter of parents who endured Jim Crow, working to eradicate the very inequity and oppression that Harry Byrd worked to create and maintain. Jenn has spent her career dismantling the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow that still impacts communities today.

Jenn’s career is one of many “firsts.” In 2010, Jenn became the first member of the House of Delegates to serve the Commonwealth while pregnant. She was asked: “Are you retiring?” while an expecting father also serving office with her was not. This moment served as a reminder of the gender-based bias and inequities that continue to exist in our workplaces and lives. As the Vice Chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and Chair of Virginia’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, Jenn has led efforts to tell the complete and accurate story of Virginia’s past while working to achieve Dr. King’s vision of the “Beloved Community” through her community conversations, legislative, and policy efforts.

As Governor of Virginia, Jenn will shatter more than one glass ceiling as the first woman, first Black woman, and first Generation X candidate elected to the office. Jenn understands that inequity based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability is baked into all systems touched by state government and views public policy through the same lens. Jenn’s presence and policies will make sure that today’s “firsts” become tomorrow’s norms in Virginia.

Jenn’s Record

As a legislator, Jenn:

Jenn’s Vision

From the beginning of her career, combatting the forces of injustice with the goal to bring people and perspectives together for a better Virginia has been at the forefront of Jenn’s vision. Equity, Inclusion and Racial Justice are embedded in all of Jenn’s plans for the future. 

As Governor, Jenn will: 

  • Embed diversity and inclusion throughout state government at all levels – from forward-facing state employees, boards and commission, agency heads to the members of her cabinet, including increased language accessibility
  • Fight hatred and violence against all Virginia communities and strengthen Virginia’s hate crime laws
  • Introduce legislation defining sexual and workplace harassment in the Virginia Human Rights Act
  • Introduce legislation for pay equity and greater protections for all workers 
  • Invest more funding in supportive and competitive employment for those with disabilities 
  • Create an LGBTQ+ certification to be included in the Small Women, and Minority Owned (SWaM) business benefits and classification
  • Increase opportunities for women, minority-owned, and LGBTQ+ businesses to participate in the Commonwealth’s procurement processes
  • Address the long-standing inequities of Virginia’s special education program in Virginia
  • Invest in training programs that provide people with disabilities with the support to find competitive paying jobs and build careers
  • Use public art, spaces, educational curriculums, and platforms to tell a complete and accurate account of Virginia’s history and eradicate physical and systemic monuments to white supremacy and Jim Crow
  • Appoint a Special Advisor on Disability Rights under the McClellan Administration & codify that position so it becomes permanent regardless of who is Governor
  • Increase representation of those with disabilities on state boards, commissions, and advisory councils
  • Implement and fund resources to increase state employment for individuals with disabilities