The Democratic Party of Virginia recently unanimously selected Charniele L. Herring as chair, the first time an African American has held the post.

Herring (D-Alexandria) was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2009 in a special election to fill a vacant 46th District seat. She was chosen the state Democrats’ chair at a meeting Dec. 8 in Williamsburg. The news was announced on the organization’s website.

“I am humbled by the strength and diversity of Virginia Democrats,” Herring said in a statement. “I look forward to fighting every day to ensure we continue to elect Democrats here in this great Commonwealth.”

Herring, the House of Delegates Democratic Whip, was praised by Brian Moran, who left the post the day Herring was selected. He said he is taking some time off to consider what he might do next, according to news reports.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to hand over the reins of State Party Chair to Delegate Herring,” Moran said in a statement. “Delegate Herring is a strong advocate for Democrats across the Commonwealth and will work tirelessly to continue the progress we made in 2012 and bring us to victory in 2013.”

Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman who is running for governor, credited Herring with having “vision, experience and priorities that represent the future” of Virginia Democrats.

“Charniele’s compelling life story and dedication to public service enable her to be the strong leader and effective communicator our party needs,” he said. “Her historic election is representative of the strength and diversity of our party and our Commonwealth.”

According to her House website, Herring was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Sept. 25, 1969. She earned a B.A. in economics from George Mason in 1993 and a law degree from Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law in 1997. She is a member of the Alexandria Rotary Club.