Philadelphia Rep. Joanna McClinton Becomes First Woman Appointed as Speaker of the Pennsylvania House

Philadelphia Rep. Joanna McClinton Becomes First Woman Appointed as Speaker of the Pennsylvania House

Philadelphia state Rep. Joanna McClinton
Image via LinkedIn/Joanna McClinton

Give the people who they want.

Philadelphia state Rep. Joanna McClinton made history on Tuesday, becoming the first woman to serve as speaker of the Pennsylvania House.

According to Yahoo! News, McClinton, 40, who has been a state lawmaker since 2015, was appointed speaker following a leadership change nearly two months after Berks County Democrat Rep. Mark Rozzi’s appointment for the post.

“It was almost 250 years before a woman could stand at this desk, not just to give a prayer, but to get the gavel,” McClinton said after being sworn in. “That’s pretty incredible.”

Reportedly, Rozzi said stepping aside was a willing decision after being speaker since Jan. 3.

“I will not allow the allure of power or the trappings of office to keep me from doing what is right. I was not elected by the people for this office and I will not stand in the way of the woman who was,” Rozzi said in floor remarks on Tuesday. He called McClinton “one of the most intelligent and compassionate women I have met in politics.”

Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta shared that McClinton is the second African American to serve as speaker after the late Speaker Leroy Irvis, who held the post in the 1970s.

“She’s brilliant, formidable, and she gives voice to our values in ways that ring so true it reverberates around this chamber,” said Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny.

“We are going to have rules that protect women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ because this is Pennsylvania, where democracy was born,” McClinton said.

McClinton was raised in southwest Philadelphia, where she currently resides. She studied at La Salle University and Villanova Law School before working as a public defender and a state Senate attorney. Her credentials include working as a Democratic floor leader since 2020, being the first woman appointed for the position.

Reportedly, McClinton won the vote over Republican nominee Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar of Somerset County. With two absences, the vote was 102-99.

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