PA House Elects Rep. Joanna McClinton to Serve as House Speaker

McClinton is the first woman speaker in Pennsylvania history

HARRISBURG, Feb. 28 – Today state Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, was elected the first woman to serve as speaker of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives in the chamber’s near 250-year history.

During remarks in the House chamber, McClinton acknowledged the history being made and her commitment to bipartisanship. She thanked her colleagues for their support.

“In my career, I’ve been blessed to achieve other ‘firsts’ in this chamber, and I am equally honored to serve as this historic body’s first woman speaker,” McClinton said. “I stand before you today, humbled and honored to be elected your speaker, and most importantly, my election today makes me more hopeful about the future of our commonwealth and our communities.

“I’m confident if we collaborate rather than criticize, debate rather than disparage and replace shortsighted political gain with sincere cooperation - this body can do better - and will do better. Today can be our fresh start. Each of us is here because our neighbors have placed their trust in us. And that collective trust is what empowers us to act in the interest of our communities and to advance Pennsylvania for the common good.”

McClinton, who was first elected in 2015, represents communities in west and southwest Philadelphia and Yeadon and Darby boroughs in Delaware County. Before being elected, she served as assistant public defender for seven years and became assistant chief of the East Zone during her last year.

In 2013, McClinton combined her passion for public service and law by becoming chief counsel to state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, where she developed policy and legislation, organized expungement fairs and public policy forums, and assisted constituents.

McClinton made history in 2018 when she was elected the first woman and first African American to be elected as House Democratic Caucus chair, and again in 2020, when she was the first woman elected House Democratic leader. Most recently, McClinton became the first woman to serve as majority leader.