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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

New House of Delegates Speaker Has a Special Bond with ODU

By Philip Walzer

In January, Eileen Filler-Corn will be the first woman and first Jewish person to serve as speaker of Virginia's House of Delegates.

Filler-Corn is proud of another biographical fact: She is the parent of an Old Dominion University graduate.

Her son, Jeremy, received his bachelor's degree in park and recreation management in 2016. He works at The St. James, a fitness complex in Springfield.

"ODU was a great experience for him," she said on Nov. 18. "We had the opportunity to get to know the Brodericks (President John R. Broderick and First Lady Kate Broderick), and we thought the world of them. We're big fans of the University."

As for being the first female and Jewish speaker, "It doesn't define me," Filler-Corn said. "But I think it's important. It is about being inclusive and diverse."

She noted that in recent years, the General Assembly added its first transgender, Latina and Asian female members. "We now have a legislature that more closely reflects the Commonwealth of Virginia."

Her selection as speaker, Filler-Corn said, sends a strong message to girls and others that "you cando it all: You can be a mom, an elected official and a spouse, and you can also work."

Filler-Corn said she will continue to work across party lines "to make a difference and improve the lives of Virginians." She counts her support for expanding Medicaid coverage to 400,000 Virginians as "the most consequential vote I've ever taken and the one that affected the most people."

She was first elected to represent the 41st District in Fairfax County in the House in 2010, winning by 37 votes. Filler-Corn became House minority leader this year - the first female leader for either party in the history of Virginia.

After Democrats took control of the House in the November election, the House Democratic Caucus selected Filler-Corn to be the next speaker. She is expected to be elected speaker when the General Assembly reconvenes in January.

She was in Norfolk for a meeting of the House Appropriations Committee. Filler-Corn also attended a lunch at the Broderick Dining Commons before a meeting of Old Dominion's Board of Visitors. Filler-Corn's husband, Robert Corn, has been a member of the board since 2018.

She said she looks forward to "moving forward as speaker and having a continued relationship with the University."

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