RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia House Democrats chose Del. Don Scott Jr. (D-Portsmouth) as their new leader on Wednesday, more than a month after voting to remove the former House minority leader.
Del. Scott, a lawyer, was picked over two other Democratic state delegates for the role. He is the first Black person to serve as minority leader in the Virginia House of Delegates.
Scott led the push to oust Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) as House minority leader. Filler-Corn, the first woman and Jewish person to serve as House Speaker in the body’s 400-year history, became minority leader after Republicans took back the majority in the chamber after last year’s elections.
But the caucus removed Del. Filler-Corn on April 27 without electing a new caucus leader, waiting until Wednesday’s session on the state budget to hold a vote.
Filler-Corn declined to comment after the vote on Wednesday.
In an interview with 8News Reporter Jackie DeFusco, Scott wouldn’t say why Filler-Corn was removed.
“Well, first of all, I think the Democrats are united. We are on a common mission because we share common values,” Scott said. “Elections are about the future and that’s the election that we just had. I didn’t seek it out. I would like to say that I was drafted.”
In his first statement after the vote, Scott took aim at Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin and GOP lawmakers in Virginia.
“I’m not afraid to stand up and say it: Youngkin and his party don’t care one bit about effective governance or how their decisions impact everyday Virginians,” Scott said in his statement. “They are happy to sit back and stoke the flames of the culture war while our constituents struggle to make ends meet.”
Asked how he plans to help Democrats win back the majority in the House of Delegates, Scott said the party needs to focus on kitchen table issues, as opposed to culture wars and former President Donald Trump.
“We need to make sure that we stand up for the democratic principles here in the Commonwealth of Virginia. If we do that, we’ll get back the majority without Trump on the ballot…We don’t need to talk about Trump,” Scott told DeFusco.
The caucus elected Scott as minority leader over Del. Charniele L. Herring (Alexandria), the caucus chairwoman, and Del. Richard “Rip” Sullivan Jr. (D-Fairfax).
The leadership change comes after House Republicans won a majority in the 100-member chamber last November and wielded that power during the regular 2022 General Assembly session to reject several Democratic-backed proposals.
The House Democratic Caucus also elected Del. Dan Helmer (D-Fairfax) as its vice chair of outreach, a position that Scott held and resigned from as he sought the minority leader role.