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Will history be made with next speaker of the House?

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 11/8/2019, 6 a.m.
Will the next speaker of the House of Delegates be the first woman or the first African-American to hold the ...

Will the next speaker of the House of Delegates be the first woman or the first African-American to hold the post in Virginia history?

The 55 Democrats who won in Tuesday’s election to claim the majority in the 100-member House of Delegates are expected to settle that question on Saturday, Nov. 9,

That’s when they will hold a House Democratic Caucus meet- ing to choose a replacement for Speaker M. Kirkland “Kirk” Cox, a Republican who must relinquish the post when the 2020 General Assembly session begins in January.

The time and location of the meeting had not been released by Free Press deadline on Wednesday.

Behind the scenes, though, legislators have identified at least four members — including two African-Americans — who are vying for the leadership job that is considered one of the top power positions in state government.

Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, a five-term delegate from Northern Virginia who led the Democratic minority during the past session, is considered the front-runner for the post from which Democrats would begin their push on such priorities as raising the minimum wage, imposing restrictions on gun sales and ownership and boosting education spending.

However, two legislators confirmed that Delegate Filler-Corn is facing a potential challenge from two members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus — two-term Petersburg Delegate Lashrecse D. Aird and five-term Prince William County Delegate Luke E. Torian.

On Wednesday, it was learned that a fourth candidate has put his name forward. That is Delegate Kenneth R. Plum, also of Northern Virginia, who has served in the House since 1982, and represented the Fairfax County district earlier from 1978 to 1980.

However, with 34 members, or 61 percent, of the House Democratic Caucus having served four years or less in the House, seniority is expected to be far less of a consideration.

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