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CHARNIELE L. HERRING HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER, VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATES, ALEXANDRIA


In 2009, Herring (no relation to Attorney General Mark Herring) became the first Black woman elected to represent a Northern Virginia district in the House of Delegates. She now holds the second most powerful seat in the statehouse, which has


been under Democratic leadership since 2020. In addition to serving as house majority leader, Herring chairs the Courts of Justice Committee, aſter advocating for criminal justice reforms during her tenure on the state Crime Commission. Born into a U.S. Army family, Herring was a ballet student and also found herself in a homeless shelter for six months aſter her mother was laid off from her job. She then earned an economics degree from George Mason University and a law degree from Catholic University. Before entering elec- toral politics, Herring started her own law firm and is now general counsel to Admin & Logistics Inc., a government contractor. Among her legislative accomplishments are the state’s newly enacted


voting rights laws, including automatic voter registration for anyone who gets a Virginia driver’s license, repeal of the state’s voter ID law and making Election Day a state holiday. In an interview with The New York Times, Herring said, “This is what my ancestors fought hard for.”


JANET D. HOWELL CHAIR, SENATE FINANCE AND APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE, SENATE OF VIRGINIA, RESTON


First elected in 1991, Howell is Virginia’s longest-serving female legislator. She also was the first woman to be seated on the Senate’s finance and courts committees. A former legislative assistant in the state Senate, Howell chaired the State


Board of Social Services before her election to the Senate seat repre- senting parts of Fairfax and Arlington counties. In 2020, as the Democratic party took power in the General


Assembly, Howell passed several personally significant bills, including allowing no-excuse in-person absentee voting, reform- ing early childhood programs, requiring licensure of student loan services and reorganizing the state’s economic development agen- cies. During the McDonnell administration, Howell gained some notoriety when, in protest of a law to require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion, she attached an amendment requiring men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test if they wanted to get erectile dysfunction medication. In 2020, the Democratic majorities in the Senate and the House repealed the mandatory ultrasound. This year, Howell has thrown her support behind increasing funding for underfunded historically Black colleges and uni- versities. “Righting this historic wrong [is] not only possible but essential,” she says.


MARK HERRING ATTORNEY GENERAL, COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, RICHMOND


If reelected in November, Herring would be the first Virginia attor- ney general to serve a third term. In June, he defeated up-and-comer Del. Jerrauld C. “Jay” Jones in the Democratic primary, despite Gov. Ralph Northam’s endorsement of Jones. A University of Virginia and University of Richmond School of Law alum, Herring started his political career as a Loudoun County supervisor and served as a state senator from 2006 to 2014. He also was the Lovettsville town attorney. Herring has been a consistent proponent of Democratic values during his time as attorney general, refusing in 2014 to defend the Virginia Marriage Amendment, which outlawed same-sex marriage. Herring also has defended the federal


Affordable Care Act in the U.S. Supreme Court, joined 25 other state attorneys gen- eral in calling for a federal law to protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and has pushed for the removal of the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond, a matter that has been in civil court since 2020. In 2019, he was entangled in Northam’s blackface photo controversy aſter Herring apologized for wearing blackface to a party as a U.Va. undergraduate.


TIM KAINE SENATOR, UNITED STATES SENATE, RICHMOND


Virginia’s junior senator started out as a Harvard- trained lawyer, mainly representing clients who faced housing discrimination. Then, starting in 1994, he won election to a series of public offices of escalating importance, starting with a seat


on the Richmond City Council, then moving on to become mayor and lieutenant governor. In 2006, Kaine became Virginia’s 70th governor. His administration had to grapple with the Great Recession, as well as the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, which claimed 32 lives and remains the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.


Elected to the U.S. Senate in 2013, Kaine sits on the armed services, budget and foreign relations committees. Known for his “dad” persona and Spanish language skills, he was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 presidential election. A devout Catholic, Kaine is married to former state Secretary of Education Anne Holton, the daughter of Republican Gov. A. Linwood Holton Jr. In 2021, Kaine was part of a group of senators craſting an immi- gration reform bill that would likely include a path to citizenship.


TERRY McAULIFFE


FORMER VIRGINIA GOVERNOR; DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR, McLEAN


Ever since he was introduced as the “once and future governor of Virginia” by then-presidential candidate Joe Biden in March 2020, McAuliffe has been viewed as likely to win a second, nonconsecu- tive term as governor. McAuliffe won the Democratic nomination


handily over four other primary candidates. In this fall’s gubernatorial race, the state’s 72nd gover- nor faces Republican political newcomer Glenn Youngkin in what experts predict will be the most expensive race in Virginia history. If he wins, McAuliffe will have a friendlier state legislature in his second term, with both houses


currently controlled by the Democratic Party. During his first term, McAuliffe says, he functioned as a “brick wall” against abortion restrictions by the then-GOP-controlled legislature while also promoting the state’s trade and business climate. If elected governor again, McAuliffe has prom- ised to pursue a $15 per hour minimum wage and invest $2 billion in education. The co-founder of Federal City National Bank,


McAuliffe has spent much of the past two years campaigning for other Democrats, including Biden, who returned the favor in July with an appearance for McAuliffe.


www.VirginiaBusiness.com 95


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