Having worked with Jennifer McClellan during the last 15 years in which she has served in the Virginia General Assembly, I know from personal experience that she is the best choice if we want to ensure the Commonwealth’s future status as an economic leader, particularly as we recover in a post-pandemic world. In fact, she has more experience serving Virginia in elected office than the four other Democratic gubernatorial candidates combined.
As a legislator, Jenn has worked to advance and shape real-world policies that have not only resulted in the creation of jobs within the Commonwealth, but also helped to protect and revitalize small businesses. She has also developed workforce-training initiatives that have helped safeguard a future educated workforce pipeline that is adequately prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.
She understands the importance of taking a forward-looking approach that better positions the state to prepare and adapt to the ever-changing technologies that drive commerce. For example, she was one of the first legislators to recognize the technology implications of electric vehicles and successfully worked to pass legislation aimed at removing barriers to the installation of vehicle chargers.
Her recognition that the Commonwealth must keep up with ever-changing business models (if we are to effectively compete) resulted in her advancing and passing legislation aimed at authorizing new innovations, such as the contract brewing legislation, which helped power the explosive growth in the craft brewing industry in Virginia. She recognized the growing “conscious capitalism” movement and wrote the legislation allowing benefit corporations in Virginia. She advanced legislation to remove barriers for ride-sharing applications, and recognizing the changing nature of the jobs required by these types of new business models, she has worked to ensure a ready and skilled workforce by passing legislation that makes computer science a priority for teacher training. She carried the Virginia Clean Economy Act and the Solar Freedom Act, which unleashed the clean energy economy in Virginia, estimated to create up to 13,000 jobs per year in Virginia’s advanced energy industry.
During her time on the House Commerce and Labor Committee (the committee that considers bills related to consumer issues, the supply and delivery of energy, insurance, telecommunications, and travel, tourism and sports, etc.) Jenn literally worked to support, amend or defeat thousands of business policies.
Sitting on the Commerce committee, as well as all the other committees she has been appointed to during her tenure as a legislator, has allowed her to better understand the state-wide economic impacts of legislation to the whole of Virginia. While Jenn’s primary opponents may have big ideas about economic development and business, none of them has the type of experience and breadth of knowledge that comes from working the many hours that Jenn has invested on the committees that make the very decisions that are shaping the future of Virginia’s economy.
Further, as a working parent, Jenn knows from first-hand experiences the many challenges parents face in trying to balance the demands of having both a family and a job. She gained this perspective not only from her day-job working for a large corporation, but as the first member of the Virginia House of Delegates to be pregnant—and nursing—while in office, and someone who has had to balance the demands of work with the needs of ailing family members. She understands that the future of a strong economy is dependent on an able and diverse workforce that has access to childcare and the necessary supports systems, which is the driving force between her Universal Child Care & Early Learning Plan which calls for child care to be recognized as a public necessity that is affordable and accessible for all Virginia families.
Sen. McClellan also recognizes the importance of growing the economy in every part of Virginia. Jenn’s economic plan will prioritize increasing access to capital to small businesses through a new COVID Long-Term Effects Small Business Loan. And she supports the growth of Small, Minority and Women (SWaM) owned businesses through greater access to capital by increasing funding partnerships with entities like the Virginia Community Capital Bank.
As the Commonwealth looks to the future and reflects on a post pandemic world that has had dramatic impacts on many sectors of the economy, I am confident that there is only one person who has the experience and on-the-ground knowledge to safe-guard the future economic vitality of the commonwealth — Jennifer McClellan.
Michele Satterlund is a working parent in Richmond who first met McClellan when she ran for the General Assembly.