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Attorney General of Virginia

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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219


For media inquiries only, contact:  
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


~ Erin B. Ashwell to succeed Cynthia E. Hudson as Chief Deputy Attorney General; Brittany A. Whitley and Michael K. Kelly to assume new roles in OAG ~

RICHMOND (January 6, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced that he is appointing Erin B. Ashwell of Roanoke as the next Chief Deputy Attorney General of Virginia effective February 10. Ashwell will succeed Cynthia E. Hudson who will return to private practice after six years of service as Chief Deputy.


“There just aren’t words to fully capture what Cynthia’s leadership, friendship, and wise counsel have meant to me, the Office of Attorney General, and the people of Virginia during her service as chief deputy attorney general,” said Attorney General Herring. “Cynthia is an absolutely brilliant attorney who has led the team in managing our most important cases and initiatives, including the fight for marriage equality, our comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic, and our ongoing work to reform the criminal justice system.


“I can’t think of anyone better than Erin to build on the work of the last six years and to continue the fight for justice, equality, and opportunity. Erin brings a breadth and depth of experience to the role, along with a wealth of knowledge about the Commonwealth of Virginia, our courts, and our legal community. I am really excited that Erin is willing to take on this new role, and I know she is going to do incredible work for the people of Virginia.”


Ashwell has served as an associate and principal at Woods Rogers, PLC in Roanoke for the last ten years specializing in appellate and litigation practice before federal and Virginia state appellate courts, including ongoing litigation in federal court against the organizers of the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. She previously served as a clerk for Judge Michael F. Urbanski, and as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. Ashwell is a Virginia native who received her bachelor’s degree at Harvard College and her law degree from Harvard Law School.


“Service as Chief Deputy Attorney General of our Commonwealth has been the most professionally and personally rewarding challenge I have undertaken as a public servant lawyer and as a Virginian,” said Chief Deputy Attorney General Hudson. “Though other duties call now, I will be forever proud and honored to have had a part in all that Attorney General Mark Herring has achieved in promoting justice, equality and opportunity for all Virginians. I look forward to seeing all the continued good work I know is to come from the Herring administration, and playing whatever part I can as a private citizen volunteer to continue to advance and realize the same ideals.”


“I am thankful for this opportunity to serve Virginians and the Commonwealth in this capacity,” Ashwell said. “Attorney General Herring and the Office of the Attorney General are engaged in important work, and I am excited to join the team and help further their mission.”


Additionally, Attorney General Herring announced that Brittany A. Whitley will serve as Chief of External Affairs and Policy and Michael K. Kelly will serve as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Attorney General.


Whitley has served as Attorney General Herring’s Director of External and Legislative Affairs for the last six years, and previously served as a legislative aid to then-Senator Herring and before that in the House of Delegates. Whitley also served as Director of Events for Governor Northam’s Inaugural Committee in 2017. She is a native of Bedford and a graduate of Virginia Tech and Central Virginia Community College.


Kelly has served as Attorney General Herring’s director of communication for the last six years, and previously worked for Senator Tim Kaine during his term as governor and his successful 2012 Senate race, as well as Congressman Tom Perriello and the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus. He is a native of Richmond and a graduate of Virginia Tech.


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