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'We can be bold': First female House Speaker in Virginia reflects on new role

The historic elections in Virginia brought Democrat majorities to the General Assembly. They also made Del. Elaine Filler-Corn the first female House Speaker.

FAIRFAX, Va. — Delegate Elaine Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) was watching closely as her party took the majority in both chambers of the General Assembly in Virginia. 

"It was loud and resounding," Filler-Corn said.

The Democrat has been serving the 41st District, which covers large portions of Fairfax County, since 2010. Now that Democrats have control, Filler-Corn has elevated the historic position of House Speaker. She's the first woman, and the first Jewish person, to receive that title. 

"The titles aren't lost on me -- the importance and significance," Filler-Corn said. "But it certainly doesn't define me or any of us moving forward. I'm thrilled because it shows that diversity is important." 

The election gave Democrats a 10-seat majority in the House of Delegates and a two-seat majority in the Senate. This is the first time the Democrats have controlled both chambers, as well as the Governor's mansion since 1993.

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"It's very, very exciting," she said. "It quite clearly was a mandate. And I think what's most exciting for us was that it was mostly about substance and policy."

Filler-Corn listed off a number of priorities, including climate protections, anti-discrimination laws, voting rights bills, The Equal Rights Amendment and gun control legislation. 

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"We are going to move forward with gun violence prevention," she said. "And we are all elected because we feel strongly that we want to improve the lives of Virginians and make a difference." 

WUSA9 asked Filler-Corn about her message for Republicans in the state, who may feel like they are being left behind by an increasingly left-leaning leadership. 

"I've always had an ability to work with everybody and work across party lines," she said. "Our focus will be to move Virginia forward and focus on the issues that we have heard from Virginians ... We can be bold. We can continue to pass bills to actually save lives." 

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