Virginia Democrats elect first Black caucus leader

In a historic first, Democrats in Virginia’s House of Delegates have selected an African American to lead the caucus.

Del. Don Scott (D-Portsmouth), an attorney and former naval officer, has represented Virginia’s 80th District since 2020.

Originally from Houston, Scott served time in prison after being convicted in the 1990s on federal drug charges while in law school.

He later went on to become a practicing lawyer and founded his own law firm.

“I have come from very humble beginnings,” Scott said. “I have faced a great deal of adversity and had to overcome that with determination and grit. I know that folks are hurting out there, and the Democratic party, I think, is now and continues to share the values of the majority of the citizens of this Commonwealth.”

Scott was chosen as the next party leader in a closed caucus election Wednesday morning, making him the first Black lawmaker to lead Democrats in either the House or Senate.

Scott was part of efforts to oust the former Democratic House of Delegates leader, Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax), after the party lost control of the House last fall.

In a statement, Scott promised to lead the Democratic caucus back to power “so that Democrats can get back to delivering on real, kitchen-table issues for the people of Virginia.”

He also accused Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Republicans of not caring ”one bit about effective governance or how their decisions impact everyday Virginians.”

Virginia Republicans made history recently, too, by electing the state’s first Black lieutenant governor, Winsome Earle-Sears, and its first Latino attorney general, Jason Miyares.

Shayna Estulin

Shayna Estulin is an anchor/reporter for WTOP. She started her career in New York City as a local TV reporter and has since covered foreign affairs and national politics as a Washington correspondent. She also anchored a nightly news show for an international network.

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