Summer Lee Takes Oath of Office, Becoming First Black Woman to Represent Pennsylvania in the US House

Rep.-elect Summer Lee, D-Pa., speaks during a news conference with Congressional Progressive Caucus members at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

By Ashley Adams

January 7, 2023

Lee will represent Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional district, which includes Allegheny and part of Westmoreland counties.

After a four-day delay, it’s finally official: Pennsylvania has its first Black woman in the United States House of Representatives.

Democrat Summer Lee was sworn into office in the wee hours of Saturday morning, after Republican Kevin McCarthy was elected House speaker on a historic post-midnight 15th ballot, overcoming holdouts from his own ranks and floor tensions that boiled over after a chaotic week that tested the new GOP majority’s ability to govern.

Lee defeated Republican candidate Mike Doyle in the November election to represent Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional district, which includes Allegheny and part of Westmoreland counties. She will now serve alongside fellow Pennsylvania female Democratic lawmakers such as Susan Wild, Madeleine Dean, Mary Gay Scanlon, and Chrissy Houlahan.

Lee launched her bid for Congress when Democratic US Rep. Mike Doyle (not to be confused with her opponent) announced his retirement last year after serving 14 terms.

A progressive attorney from Braddock, Lee has represented Pennsylvania’s 34th legislative district in the state House since 2018. She resigned from that position in December to take over her seat in Congress. 

Lee supports Medicare for All, tuition-free public college, student debt cancellation, and far-reaching criminal justice reform. She’s in favor of the $15 minimum wage and has supported COVID-19 vaccinations and Pennsylvania’s school mask mandate. Lee is pro-choice and a proponent of LGBTQ+ rights. 

She also backs the Green New Deal, a congressional resolution that lays out a plan for tackling climate change, and is anti-fracking.


  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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