Virginia House Republicans elect Gilbert as new speaker

Gilbert served as the House majority leader from 2018 until early 2020 and the House minority leader since early 2020,
Glenn Youngkin tals at a pannel in 2017

Virginia House Republicans unanimously have elected the chamber’s new leadership going into 2022, including House Republican leader Todd Gilbert becoming the new speaker of the House.

“I am proud to serve with and lead a strong and united Republican majority as we look toward the 2022 General Assembly session and beyond,” Speaker-designee Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said in a statement. “I am humbled by the vote of trust and confidence by my colleagues. When we were in the minority, no one believed that we could return to where we are now. But we rallied together, worked together, and won together. I could not be more proud to be a member, let alone the leader, of this caucus."

Gilbert served as the House majority leader from 2018 until early 2020 and the House minority leader since early 2020, when Democrats gained control of the chamber. With Republicans retaking control in the 2021 elections, Gilbert will be promoted to speaker and Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, will become the new majority leader.

“I am grateful to my colleagues for their support as Majority Leader and look forward to serving Speaker-designee Gilbert and the Republican caucus,” Kilgore said in a statement. “As Majority Leader, I look forward to helping chart a policy agenda that works for all Virginians. While we will debate our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, we will also work with them when we can to ensure the best possible policy outcomes for every Virginian. Reasoned debate and compromise should and will always have a place in the oldest continuing legislative body in the Western hemisphere.”

Del. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, was the most-recent Republican speaker, serving in that position from 2018 until 2020. Cox, an incumbent Republican, will leave office in the beginning of 2022 after declining to run for re-election for his seat to instead run for governor. He came in fourth place in the party’s convention, losing to Glenn Youngkin, who went on to win the governor’s race.

“During my tenure as Speaker, Todd served as Majority Leader,” Cox said in a statement. “He was instrumental in leading our caucus and once again proved to be a capable debater. I remain grateful for Todd’s support during these particular two years. Todd also deserves effusive praise for leading the House Republican Caucus through our last two years in the minority. Todd put in the hard work necessary to retain our House majority.”

Republicans also elected Caucus Chair Del. Kathy Byron, R-Bedford, to her second term in that position and Del. Jay Leftwich, R-Chesapeake, to his second term as the party’s whip.

In the 2021 elections, Republicans flipped seven seats to take a 52-48 majority in the House. House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, will step down from her speaker role in January, but continue to serve as a delegate representing her district.