Virginia Capitol Connections Winter 2023

Virginia Capitol Connections, Winter 2023 20 I knew Del. Kaye Kory was the real deal when upon exiting her office a few legislative sessions ago, I saw that the coffee table–style book she had on display for visitors to the General Assembly was The CAFO Reader: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories, a stunning volume filled with facts about and images of “concentrated animal feeding operations” (i.e., factory farms) that tells it like it is not only about animal suffering in the industry but also about the impact on the environment and human health as well as fair labor concerns. During Kory’s 14 years of service in the Virginia House of Delegates, she has also been telling it like it is. She has advocated and achieved so much for so many humans and animals, from educating to legislating, and she has done it all with grace, passion, and compassion. I am an animal protection activist and lobbyist, so my personal experience with Del. Kory is related to her animal rights advocacy, including her efforts on behalf of thousands of neglected beagles (since freed!) confined at the now-closed Envigo facility; a lone senior elephant named Asha, who has been held captive in substandard conditions for decades; countless victims of animal testing for cosmetics; forgotten dogs kept chained outdoors 24/7/365; animals sold in the few pet stores that remain in our state; and more. It has been a privilege to work with Del. Kory on these issues. Her kindness, dedication, determination, and humor will be greatly missed in the General Assembly — and not just on the animal welfare front. Del. Kory’s commitment to fighting for the underserved and her drive to make our world a more just, fair, and kind place for all its inhabitants resulted in many successes (too many to list here) and even firsts. Just a few of them include expanding Medicaid, mandating that menstrual products be provided at no cost to incarcerated women upon request, creating training standards for prison guards about pregnancy and obstetric care for incarcerated women, allowing newborns to stay in prison with their mothers for the first few weeks to ensure bonding, reducing the cost of phone calls to family members from those who are incarcerated, creating family-friendly visiting areas in state prisons, banning cosmetics experimentation on animals, allowing collective bargaining for local civil employees, raising teacher salaries, increasing funding for education, requiring that institutions of higher education offer in-state tuition to students born in the U.S. of noncitizen parents, and raising the salaries of corrections officers and state troopers. Del. Kory also collected thousands of dollars and hundreds of pounds of food for Feed More while in session; established ArtAbility, a wonderful annual art show in Richmond for individuals living with a disability or other challenges; founded and chaired the Women’s Health Care Caucus and the Animal Welfare Caucus; and so much more. Her impressive service, efforts, and accomplishments make it clear that she cares deeply about her loyal constituents in District 38, but what has made working alongside her the last few legislative sessions such a huge honor for me is how much she cares about the whole world and works to make it a better, gentler place for all. The General Assembly won’t be the same without you, Del. Kory. Daphna Nachminovitch is senior vice president of cruelty investigations for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), with headquarters located in Norfolk. In the chamber of the Virginia House of Delegates, where photorealistic oil-painted portraits of past speakers adorn the walls, there’s one name and one portrait that will always catch your eye: Eileen Filler-Corn. She’s been a true trailblazer, a hardworking advocate, and a down-toearth public servant. As she bids farewell to the House of Delegates, a body over which she presided as the 56th Speaker of the House, FillerCorn leaves an unforgettable mark on the Commonwealth of Virginia. Eileen Filler-Corn’s ascension to the role of Speaker was not only a testament to her capabilities, but it also marked a historic milestone. As the first woman to hold this esteemed position in the 400-year history of Virginia’s legislature, Filler-Corn shattered glass ceilings and opened doors for future generations of women leaders. Her accomplishments serve as a source of inspiration, reminding us all that with dedication and determination, anything is possible. Speaker Filler Corn’s tenure would have been historic in any event, without regard to the firsts she represented. Democrats had been out of power for more than 20 years in the House of Delegates and there was a lot of work to do. I was privileged to serve on her transition team tasked with re-writing the rules to account for a female Speaker and Clerk. While the rest of the House was at ease, I was frequently asked to huddle with her and Clerk Denslow and Majority Leader Charniele Herring around the dais as we navigated the choppy parliamentary waters, often roiled by the minority leaders constantly testing her. Her very first test came from the Democrats who came from the State Senate, who decided to try to amend a ceremonial and perfunctory resolution appointing a committee of Senators and Delegates to inform the Governor that the General Assembly was organized and ready to proceed with business. Ultimately, they were forced to realize they’d underestimated her firm resolve and her commitment to the House of Delegates and its prerogatives and relented from their demands. Kaye Kory Delegate 2010-2024 BY DAPHNA NACHMINOVITCH Eileen Filler-Corn Delegate 2010-2024 BY MARCUS SIMON Insuring Virginia’s Future IIAV - Representing over 4,000 professionals across the Commonwealth INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENTS OF VIRGINIA ROBERT N. BRADSHAW, JR., MAM IIAV PRESIDENT & CEO CONTACT IIAV AT 804.747.9300 WWW.IIAV.COM “Whether you’re looking for personal campaign coverage — contact an independent agent today! ” or commercial lines of insurance — or even