She was the first woman to lead Virginia's House of Delegates. She hopes she's not the last.

Posted at 5:37 PM, Mar 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-15 17:37:58-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- As the nation marks Women’s History Month, Virginia lawmakers honored the Commonwealth's first female and Jewish Speaker of the House of Delegates Eileen Filler-Corn with the unveiling of her official portrait.

The packed chamber applauded as Delegate Filler-Corn, with help from her daughter, unveiled the portrait marking her tenure as the 56th Speaker of the House of Delegates.

"It was just wonderful to have so many people there that were so instrumental in making all this progress," Filler-Corn said. "Definitely overwhelming. Definitely humbling."

Eileen Filler-Corn

The assembled crowd included family, friends, and politicians from both sides of the aisle.

"Since she got elected to the House, we've always worked well together," Virginia House of Delegates Majority Leader Del. Terry Kilgore (R - Lee County) said. "We've disagreed, but we've never been disagreeable and that what's politics should be all about."

Filler-Corn joined the House in 2010 and became speaker in 2020 when Democrats took control of both chambers and the governor's mansion.

Those who spoke at the event said Filler-Corn's leadership helped expand voting access, pass gun control laws, and increase education funding.


Filler-Corn said accomplishments meant more than any political title.

"When I think about what we got done, I think of the impact that the legislation has had on the lives of Virginians, and the impact that it will continue to have," she said.

Filler-Corn also helped create other firsts during that time, as she appointed several delegates, including Jeion Ward -- to become the first African-American woman to chair House committees.

"Look at all these men," Del. Jeion Ward (D - Hampton) said. "Four hundred years later, we get to see a woman. And this is exciting for young girls, little girls to see that the sky's the limit."

Eileen Filler-Corn

Filler-Corn also hired Kathy Morris who became the first Jewish and deaf artist to paint the official portrait.

She said the items she wanted to be included in the picture were the laws passed during her Speakership and her family.

"Family is essentially the most important thing to me," she said. "I know as elected officials we always say this, but I truly mean it. We could not do what we do without our family."

Filler-Corn now may have more time to spend with her family as she won't run for re-election this November. She has started a Political Action Committee and has not ruled out a run for another political office.

"I am definitely interested in exploring, you know, for governor as well," she said.

As her portrait stands ready to break the mold of those already on the walls, Filler-Corn expects to have company in the future.

"I might be the first I won't be the last, there'll be many more to follow," she said.

The portrait will remain on the House floor until Thursday before it is moved to the wall behind where the two most recent portraits hang next to the Speaker's rostrum.

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