A photo of a woman holding a microphone and speaking on the house floor.
Former SGA president Adele McClure hopes to “help improve the lives of people most in need” in the Virginia House of Delegates. (Kevin Morley, Enterprise Marketing and Communications)

Former SGA president Adele McClure takes service to a new level – as a state delegate

The 2011 VCU graduate now represents Arlington County in Virginia’s General Assembly.

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Adele McClure is eager to put others first – even as she continues to achieve some firsts of her own.

McClure, who earned her undergraduate economics degree in 2011 from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Business, was the first in her family to attend college. She also served as Student Government Association president for the Monroe Park campus, and barely a decade later, she now finds herself serving in a more prominent – and historic – governing body.

In January, McClure took her seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, the first Black person since Reconstruction and the first-ever Asian person elected to represent Arlington County. Elected in November in the 2nd House District, the Democratic lawmaker represents part of Northern Virginia not far from where she spent much of her youth in Alexandria.

“I’m proud to break barriers in this role,” McClure said. “At the same time, there is still so much more work to do to overcome ongoing, systemic issues that disproportionately impact our Black and Brown populations. … I may be the first, but I will ensure that I am certainly not the last.”

Though running for office wasn’t initially in her plans, she said she realized that her lived experience and professional background could bring broader perspectives and voices to the policymaking process.

“I simply wanted to serve my community, help improve the lives of people most in need and do what I could where I could,” McClure said. “I worked on the legislative side, the executive side and as an advocate. The roles may have been different, but the goal was the same – something my mother instilled in me – and that was how important it is to be of service.”

McClure’s roles have included community and public interest initiatives through the nonprofit Association of the United States Army, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and the office of the lieutenant governor. In late 2019, she was named executive director of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus – the same year she landed a spot in the law and policy category of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

A man and woman sitting in chairs at a desk on the state house floor.
VCU alum Adele McClure is the first Black person since Reconstruction and the first-ever Asian person elected to represent Arlington County in the Virginia House of Delegates. (Kevin Morley, Enterprise Marketing and Communications)

Even before attending VCU, she was involved with volunteer policy, advocacy and political work as an intern for the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. And her time at VCU was formative as well, from helping establish Qatar Day in Richmond to nurturing her interest in public affairs – to later serving on the Alumni Board of Governors.

McClure said her commitment to service reflects the strength of her mother and the challenges they navigated together, which included housing insecurity.

“We need to increase access to critical services,” McClure said. “We need to ensure that housing is more affordable, health care is high-quality and accessible, and we need … to protect our workers and provide support to our working families.

“These and so many other issues are critical to building the kind of Virginia every resident deserves, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to pursue these policy priorities.”

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