Trailblazing Congresswoman Leslie Byrne Endorses McClellan for Governor
Byrne: ‘As the first woman elected to Congress from Virginia, I cannot wait to see Jenn become the first woman elected governor of Virginia’
McClellan Campaign Rolls Out New Women For McClellan Group With Over 75 Endorsers
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Today in Alexandria, former Congresswoman Leslie Byrne (D-Fairfax), the first woman elected to Congress from Virginia, endorsed the campaign of Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), who would become the first woman elected governor of Virginia. Byrne announced her endorsement of McClellan at fibre space, a woman-owned small business in Alexandria.
Joined by Congresswoman Byrne, the McClellan campaign rolled out a new Women for McClellan action group with more than 75 endorsers. Women for McClellan will engage women and men across the Commonwealth to rally support behind McClellan’s historic candidacy and her record of driving progress in Virginia for 15 years in the legislature. If elected, McClellan would be the first woman to serve as governor of Virginia and the first Black woman governor in U.S. history.
Byrne made history during her election to Congress in 1992. She also served for 11 years in the Virginia legislature, serving in the House of Delegates from 1986-1993 and in the Senate from 2000-2004. In 2005, she was the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, running on a ticket with Gov. Tim Kaine. Byrne has a record of leadership on consumer protection, workers rights, investing in Head Start and early childhood education, and protecting Social Security and other benefits for federal employees living in Virginia.
“I’m proud to endorse the most experienced, most qualified candidate for governor with the perspective and experience to move Virginia forward: Senator Jennifer McClellan,” Congresswoman Byrne said. “As the first woman elected to Congress from Virginia, I cannot wait to see Jenn become the first woman elected governor of Virginia.I know Jenn McClellan is the candidate with the right vision and experience to lead Virginia forward in every community of the Commonwealth on day one, and I’m excited to support the candidacy of a fellow glass ceiling-breaker every step of the way. ”
“It is an honor to receive the endorsement of such a resilient fighter for Virginia families and historymaker such as Congresswoman Byrne, and I am proud to be supported by so many women from across the Commonwealth,” Sen. McClellan said. “Today, we are launching Women for McClellan to reach out to voters across the Commonwealth. As a Black woman and a working mom, I bring a perspective that has never been in the governor’s office but that we need to lead us forward now more than ever. Virginians recognize that we need someone with a new vision to rebuild from the pandemic. With more experience than all of my opponents combined, I’m ready to bring a new generation of leadership to the governor’s office on day one.”
As governor, McClellan will revitalize Virginia’s economy following the COVID-19 crisis, prioritizing support for small, women, and minority owned businesses and expanding worker protections including paid family, sick, and medical leave. With 40% of Virginia child care facilities closing last year and women accounting for 52.6% of job losses nationwide, McClellan is the only candidate for governor with a plan to establish Universal Child Care across Virginia so parents can get back to work and children can have a strong, equitable start. As governor, McClellan will enshrine reproductive rights in the Virginia constitution to guarantee the right to choose for generations of Virginians to come.
McClellan made history as the first pregnant delegate in Virginia history and has been a leader fighting for families, health care, education, reproductive rights, and social equity in the Virginia General Assembly for over 15 years. McClellan co-sponsored the Equal Rights Amendment resolution for six years before leading final passage in the Senate in 2020. A fierce advocate for reproductive rights and access under Democratic control and Republican, McClellan passed the Reproductive Health Protection Act, making Virginia the first state in the South to proactively protect access to abortion care and reproductive health, and chief-patroned the bill to allow abortion coverage to be offered on the state health care exhcange.