Rep. Summer Lee Sworn in as Pittsburgh’s First Black Congresswoman (ShineMyCrown)

Feb 21, 2023
In the News

It was a watershed moment on Sunday when U.S. Congresswoman Summer Lee was sworn in as the first Black person to represent Allegheny County and Pittsburgh in Congress. The swearing-in also makes her the first Democratic woman to represent the county and city, respectively.

“When I think about what it means to run for office, the sacrifices that I make are the sacrifices that our community makes,” said Lee at the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre in East Liberty. “I pledge to fight for you. I pledge to fight for a better world.”

“Thank you all so much for your faith in me,” she added in front of approximately 350 people comprised of family, friends, staff, supporters and Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey.

Lee, 35, was formerly a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 34th district from 2019 to 2022. She defeated incumbent Paul Costa during the 2018 Democratic primary elections, clinching 67% of the vote, which made her the first black woman to represent Southwestern Pennsylvania in the state legislature at the time of the win.

She then went on to win the 2022 primary by a close margin (less than 1%) of the vote over Steve Irwin, the chair of the State Advisory Committee for the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

Born and raised in North Braddock, Pennsylvania, Lee attended Woodland Hills High School and graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2009. She then earned a Juris Doctor from the Howard University School of Law in 2015 and subsequently campaigned for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primaries. Her current committee assignments are education, health and judiciary.

During the 2022 elections, she told WESA that she would “fight for a Green New Deal to transition to a 100% clean and renewable energy economy and bring green union jobs back to PA-12,” adding that she was committed to helping “marginalized communities facing the brunt of environmental racism.”

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