Meet New DPVA Chair Del. Charniele Herring

Charniele’s lifelong commitment to public service began at age 13, when she testified before a committee serving President Ronald Reagan’s White House about the need for continued health care coverage for military children.  As an adult, she has combined this advocacy with a thriving career in business, building bipartisan coalitions seeking solutions for issues such as the homelessness of children.

Delegate Herring has lived in Northern Virginia area for almost 30 years, 22 of them in the West End of Alexandria.  She is a Past President of the West End Business Association (WEBA) and serves on the Boards of Directors for the Hopkins House and the Parent Leadership Training Institute of Alexandria.

Prior to her election, Delegate Herring was active in her community, especially on issues affecting the homeless and children, an issue that has touched her personally after experiencing homelessness as a child. Her career started as a Volunteer in Service to America with Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services in Alexandria, Virginia. There she worked to raise money for agencies’ housing programs.

As a participant with Social Action Linking Together (S.A.L.T.) she received the Monsignor Geno Baroni Award for Social Justice for her work to get full funding for the Homeless Intervention Act.  She founded and co-chaired the Virginia Privileged Communication Task Force which was comprised of counselors and advocates around the state. She worked with a bi-partisan delegation to get a bill sponsored to protect communications between victims and advocates. Governor Tim Kaine twice appointed her to the Council on the Status of Women.

Delegate Charniele Herring was elected to the General Assembly in January 2009 in a special election to fill the vacated seat for the 46th House District.  Her election is historic because she is the first African American woman from Northern Virginia ever elected to the over 400 year old Virginia legislature. Since her election, Delegate Herring has served on the Joint Subcommittee Studying Strategies and Models for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment, Governor McDonnell’s internal working group on voting rights restoration, and the Virginia State Crime Commission.

In the legislature where she was appointed as the Democratic Whip, Delegate Herring serves on the Courts of Justice and Science & Technology Committees. She has also chaired the Legislative Reproductive Health Caucus, fighting for women’s rights in the Commonwealth. Delegate Herring has many legislative accomplishments, among them are her successful fight to restore funding for homeless services in Virginia’s 2010-2011 biennial budget, the passage of her bill to give small businesses a competitive advantage in the state’s procurement process, and her leadership on environmental issues. Her environmental stewardship has been recognized by the Virginia League of Conservation Voters with the Legislative Hero Award.  She was also recognized in 2009 by the Virginia Education Association for her commitment to a good education for all Virginia’s children with the Rookie of the Year award.

Delegate Herring earned a B.A. in Economics from George Mason University and a J.D. from the Catholic University Columbus School of Law.