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Sen. Jennifer McClellan announces her candidacy for governor

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 6/25/2020, 6 p.m.
After 15 years in the General Assembly, Sen. Jennifer L. Mc- Clellan wants to play a bigger role in shaping ...
Sen. McClellan

As chair of the King Commission, she is now engaged in bringing a new statue honoring emancipation and freedom to Brown’s Island and in marking the 150th anniversary of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution that have been critical to protecting African-American rights.

On criminal justice, Sen. McClellan has been a leader in pushing parole reform and stopping the school-to-prison pipeline. She also supports making the disciplinary history of police officers public and is supporting other police reforms that are expected to dominate an upcoming special session of the legislature in August.

In her view, the time is ripe to consider how resources are allocated for public safety and to focus more “resources on prevention and addressing underlying causes.”

Like other Virginia Legislative Black Caucus members, Sen. McClellan supports the removal of Confederate statues. She noted conversations have begun on removing Confederate statues in Capitol Square and in the State Capitol.

Meanwhile, Democratic competitors are gathering. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe is weighing running to succeed Gov. Ralph S. Northam. So are Lt. Gov. Fairfax and Attorney General Mark R. Herring.

Still, Sen. McClellan, like Delegate Carroll Foy, is undaunted. She said she has been flooded with expressions of support.

“This is not a time to sit on the sidelines,” she said. “Black women have been the backbone of our communities and our economy but have been relegated to the shadows or the back over the past 400 years. But we’re going to keep pushing through to lead and keep striving for progress.”