Wright blasted by speaker for not disclosing positive COVID test

Published 6:00 am Thursday, September 24, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Republican 61st District Delegate Tommy Wright was the subject of a rebuke from Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn in a Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 22, statement regarding his lack of disclosure about his positive COVID-19 test.

Tommy Wright

After expressing her hopes in the statement that Wright is doing well, Filler-Corn said she wanted to be clear.

“I am incredibly disappointed with the lack of disclosure and communication from Delegate Wright and the House Republican Caucus regarding Delegate Wright’s reported positive COVID-19 test on August 25th,” she stated in a press release.

Email newsletter signup

“The House of Delegates convened in person at the Stuart C. Siegel Center in Richmond only seven days before Delegate Wright reportedly received this positive test result. Delegate Wright was present at that in-person meeting on August 18th.”

She noted that given the known incubation period for the novel coronavirus, it is possible that Wright could have exposed his fellow delegates, Capitol police, clerk staff, press and all those that were in attendance at the Siegel Center that day.

“According to reporting, Delegate Wright’s office notified members of his church of the delegate’s positive test, yet no notification to this moment has been given to my office or Clerk Denslow,” Filler-Corn stated. “While he thought members of his community should be informed of his positive test, his colleagues in the House were not given the same courtesy by the delegate nor the House Republican Caucus.”

Some of the reporting done on Wright’s recent status includes a Richmond Times-Dispatch article by Michael Martz, which stated that Wright’s aide, Tammy Mulchi, notified his church, Victoria Christian Church, on Aug. 26 that the delegate had tested positive for COVID-19 the previous day, according to an email obtained by the Times-Dispatch.

Filler-Corn said in her statement that Wright’s lack of transparency with the House of Delegates when it comes to this highly contagious disease is incredibly troubling.

“Every delegate and individual present at the Siegel Center on August 18th had a right to know of Delegate Wright’s reported positive test for their safety, their family’s safety and the safety of their communities,” she said.

The Times-Dispatch article said Wright returned to the General Assembly Monday, Sept. 21, after a publicly unexplained absence. Martz wrote that the House has met intermittently, so Wright missed four floor sessions between Sept. 4 and Sept. 11. The House did not hold any full floor sessions last week.

“The House Republican Caucus has repeatedly criticized the House’s decision to do the work of the Special Session safely and remotely,” Filler-Corn said in her statement. “They have claimed it has made it harder for delegates to represent their constituents. Yet no disclosure was made to why Delegate Wright was unable to represent his constituents for an extended period.

“And, more so, with the lack of communication regarding Delegate Wright’s positive test shortly after our in-person meeting, many other delegates who came into contact with Delegate Wright could have been similarly unable to participate in the Special Session due to COVID-19.”

Wright did not respond to calls Tuesday afternoon to his district and Capitol offices or to an email to his House email address.

In response to a phone call to Wright’s district office in Victoria, one of his aides said Wright does not have any response to Filler-Corn’s statement, adding that his health is a private matter, and he does not wish to respond or make it a political one.

Wright, 72, has been a member of the Virginia House of Delegates since 2001. He represents the counties of Cumberland, Amelia, Nottoway, Mecklenburg and part of Lunenburg County.