MEET JENN

As a daughter of community leaders and educators raised in the segregated South during the Depression, Jennifer McClellan was raised with a strong sense of servant leadership and a calling to strengthen her community. 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, Jenn dedicated herself to ensuring government was that force of change for all. 

For most of her life, Jenn 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 in her over fourteen years of service as a legislator in the Virginia General Assembly.

Jenn gets things done. She has been a driving force for progressive change in Virginia, leading the passage of landmark laws to invest in education, grow small business, expand access to health care, ban discrimination and inequity, safeguard workers’ rights and voting rights, reform the criminal justice system, protect a woman’s right to choose, and tackle climate change.

Jenn lives in Richmond with her husband, David Mills, and their two children, Jackson and Samantha.

At the Capitol

Jenn has earned a reputation as an effective, constituent services-oriented legislator, representing the greater Richmond area for 11 years in the House of Delegates and 4 years in the Senate. Jenn also serves as Vice Chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. As the first House member to be pregnant while in office, she has been a fierce protector of women’s reproductive rights, children, and families.

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In the community

As a community leader at the local, state, and national level,  Jenn 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 the Southern Regional Education Board. She is also a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She currently serves as a member of the Richmond Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party of Virginia Steering Committee, and the Democratic National Committee. 

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Fighting for justice

Jenn 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. 

She has been a driving force for progressive change in Virginia, leading the passage of landmark laws to invest in education, grow small business, expand access to health care, ban discrimination and inequity, safeguard workers’ rights and voting rights, reform the criminal justice system, protect a woman’s right to choose, and tackle climate change.

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Jenn's legislation

Jenn’s legislative accomplishments include: 

  • Ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment;
  • Creating a state-based health exchange under Obamacare;
  • Passing the historic Clean Economy Act;
  • Raising the minimum wage;
  • Extending worker protections to domestic workers:
  • Creating the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act;
  • The Reproductive Health Protection Act;   
  • Addressing the school-to-prison pipeline;
  • Expanding tenant rights and protections;
  • Creating school construction and modernization commission;
  • Legislation to end discrimination; 
  • Authorizing new business models such as benefit corporations and contract brewing; 
  • And establishing protections against predatory lending.
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A proven leader

She has been the recipient of awards including: Virginia Education Association Legislative Champion; Virginia School Boards Association Legislative Award; Virginia PTA Child Advocate of the Year Award; NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia’s Aggie Wolf Defender of Choice Award; Virginia League for Planned Parenthood Mary Anne Reynolds Award; Virginia League of Conservation Voters Legislative Hero; Virginia AARP Older Virginians Champion Award; EMILY’s List Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award Finalist; Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance Act.Honor.Hope Award; Swanson Courage Award for Civil Rights; and the Richmond Bar Association Oliver Hill Award.

 
2/12/19  Richmond,   - 2019 Virginia Senate Democrats, in action.  Photo credit: Amanda Maglione

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