Senator Jennifer McClellan has dedicated her life to serving the people of Virginia and to ensuring that all Virginians have their voices heard in government. Sen. McClellan has served greater Richmond in the General Assembly for 17 years. She has earned a reputation as a strong legislative champion for Virginians, passing landmark laws to protect voting rights, safeguard abortion access, tackle climate change, rebuild crumbling schools, expand Obamacare in Virginia, protect workers rights, and reform Virginia’s criminal justice system.
Now, Senator McClellan is running for Congress to continue delivering for the people of Virginia, and to make sure their voices are heard in Washington, D.C. McClellan recognizes the tremendous legacy of Virginia’s 4th Congressional District, from Rep. John Mercer Langston to Rep. Donald McEachin. She is committed to continuing that legacy of service, and to breaking barriers as Virginia’s first Black woman member of Congress.
As a daughter of community leaders and educators raised in the segregated South during the Depression, Senator Jennifer McClellan was raised with a strong sense of servant leadership and a calling to strengthen her community. Sen. McClellan was born in Petersburg to parents who served the community: Her father worked as a professor at Virginia State University and her mother worked as a counselor at VSU.
Her family’s experience and her study of history taught her that government can either be a force for progressive change to solve problems or a force of oppression that benefits a select few. At a young age, McClellan dedicated herself to ensuring government was that force of positive change for all.
Sen. McClellan has channeled those values into her commitment for progress, equity, and justice in the Commonwealth. She has implemented those values as a leader in the community, the Democratic Party, and as a legislator.
McClellan was elected to the House of Delegates representing Richmond in 2005. When the late Donald McEachin was elected to Congress in 2016, McClellan was elected to serve McEachin’s former Senate seat. She has served in the Senate since 2017, and serves as Vice Chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.
Sen. McClellan has also been a leader in addressing Virginia’s painful history of racial inequity. As Chair of the Virginia Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission, Jenn promotes Dr. King’s legacy and continues his work, particularly racial healing, economic and social justice, and community engagement.
As a community leader at the local, state, and national level, McClellan has served on a wide variety of non-profit and civic organizations’ boards, including the YWCA of Richmond, the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood, the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, the Children’s Museum of Richmond, and the Robert Russa Moton Museum. She is also a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Sen. McClellan lives in Richmond with her husband, David Mills, and their two children, Jackson and Samantha.
Sen. McClellan’s legislative accomplishments include:
- Ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment
- Passing the Voting Rights Act of Virginia
- Passing the Virginia Clean Economy Act
- Passing the Solar Freedom Act
- Passing the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights
- Passing the Reproductive Health Protection Act
- Passing the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act
- Creating a state-based health exchange under Obamacare
- Creating the Virginia School Construction Fund and Program
- Addressing the school-to-prison pipeline
- Expanding eligibility for state funding to restore historic African-American cemeteries
- Strengthening foreclosure protections for homeowners
- Expanding tenant rights and protections
- Expanding access to childcare
- Authorizing new business models such as benefit corporations and contract brewing
- Establishing protections against predatory lending
- Reforming Virginia’s criminal justice system