The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia has hired a familiar face to be its new executive director.

Claire Gutherie Gastanga, known on Capitol Square as the voice of gay rights and Latino groups, will replace Kent Willis, who announced last week he was leaving after 25 years with the organization. Gastanga starts her new job in June.

“Claire brings to the ACLU a huge network of people throughout Virginia who share our commitment to equality and civil liberties,”
said Jayne Barnard, president of the organization’s board of directors. “What's more, her talents are endless -- she's been a lawyer, lobbyist, administrator, writer and fundraiser. And, though she has not yet stepped through the door, she’s already thinking of ways to expand the ACLU's footprint in Virginia.”

Gastanga served as chief of staff and special counsel to the speaker of the House of Delegates and was the first woman chief deputy attorney general of Virginia.