When Eileen Filler-Corn won a special election to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2010 (by a razor-thin 37 votes), she didn’t waste a minute. The morning after her win, she drove to Richmond and got to work. “I was sworn in by noon and I was voting by 12:01,” she says.
Since then, Filler-Corn, who has lived for nearly 30 years in Northern Virginia’s Fairfax County, outside Washington, D.C., has helped pass bills focused on people with disabilities, children recuperating from cancer and parents concerned with child care safety. She’s been an ardent advocate for gun control and campus sexual assault prevention. She’s served as the House Democratic Whip, and in November 2015 was elected vice chair for outreach of the House Democratic Caucus.
Filler-Corn had previously served in the administrations of governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine as an adviser on state-federal relations. She says the biggest lesson from her time in office is that, while government progress can be slow, it’s still worth fighting for. “If I’ve learned nothing else during my time in the legislature,” she says, “I’ve learned that things move slowly. It’s all about taking baby steps and moving things forward however best we can.”