Virginia Chapter of the

National Organization for Women

Celebration & Memory


Virginia NOW celebrates the life of Elise Heinz
By Megan McDonough, Washington Post
January 29, 2014


Ms. Heinz, an Arlington resident, operated a private law practice in Arlington from the late 1960s until her retirement in 1990. She first became involved with state politics as a volunteer lobbyist for the Equal Rights Amendment in 1974. She was elected to the House of Delegates in 1977 and reelected in 1979, representing Arlington and Alexandria. 

At the time, she was one of eight women in the 100-member House, The Washington Post reported. “I got a sense that Virginia is sufficiently backward in terms of women lawyers developing credibility,” Ms. Heinz told The Post before her win in 1977. “To prove yourself, you have to go and beat their [men’s] pants off.”

At Harvard, she was one of five women in her class of 460 and an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Before opening her private practice, Ms. Heinz did legal work for the Peace Corps and Judge David L. Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

She was a member of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Virginia and was a former Virginia representative on the advisory commission of the Chesapeake & Ohio National Historical Park in Potomac, Md. She volunteered time to the American Civil Liberties Union, National Partnership for Women & Families (formerly the Women’s Legal Defense Fund) and the Arlington School Board.