Joanna McClinton, Esq
Joanna McClinton represents Pennsylvania’s 191st legislative district in Philadelphia and Delaware Counties. Her special election victory in 2015 marked the beginning of her rapid rise to leadership in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The hallmark of Joanna’s service is her outstanding leadership and steadfast commitment to criminal justice reform and equal access to jobs and education to all in the Commonwealth.
After winning re-election in November of 2018, Joanna was selected by her peers to serve as the chair of the House Democratic Caucus for the 2019-20 legislative session. The first woman and the first African-American in that role, the selection is a proud moment for the Commonwealth. “Leadership doesn’t look like what it has traditionally looked like in the past," said Joanna.
Joanna's leadership comes at a pivotal time for the House Democratic Caucus. The historic results of the 2018 midterm election yielded a large and diverse group of legislators, featuring 26 freshmen members, half of whom are women. Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly voted for a new norm in Harrisburg. Joanna’s leadership lays the groundwork to harness that momentum and continue marching towards a majority in the House in 2020 and beyond.
Prior to elected office, Joanna was an assistant public defender in Philadelphia for seven years, witnessing firsthand how the criminal justice system works and how it needs to improve. During her last year at the public defender’s office, Rep. McClinton became the assistant chief of the East Zone.
In 2013, Joanna’s love for the law and dedication to her community united as she became chief counsel to state Senator Anthony Hardy Williams. In this capacity, she played a critical role in developing legislation and policy. In addition, she worked to address constituent concerns by organizing expungement fairs and public policy forums.
Joanna has been acknowledged for her commitment to public service and enhancing the quality of life for residents in Philadelphia and Delaware Counties by receiving several awards. They include: City and State PA's 40 Under 40; the Barristers' Association of Philadelphia's Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year award; Successful Women Achieving Goals' Women of the Year award; Fun Time Magazine's Women of Influence Award; the PRE-K for PA Champion award; the Spirit of a Dove Community Servant award; the Lucien E. Blackwell Guiding Light Community award; and the Black Gala Women of Excellence award.
Alongside her professional life, Joanna continues her lifelong commitment to serving her community. She is a volunteer with Outreach to Youth and Hands of Compassion American Sign Language Ministry. Joanna was an elected Board Member of the La Salle University Alumni Association Board of Directors, where she helped initiate the Minority Alumni Advisory Group. She has also served as the secretary of the Philadelphia Barrister's Association, the city's bar association of African American attorneys, and as president of the La Salle University African American Alumni Association.
The 191st District is comprised of parts of West and Southwest Philadelphia and includes the Boroughs of Darby and Yeadon in Delaware County.