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FunTimes Magazine

Pennsylvania Rep. Joanna McClinton Demonstrates Leadership During COVID-19

Aug 06, 2020 04:54PM ● By Nana Ama Addo

FunTimes brings you intimate insights from African diaspora leaders and thought makers in Philadelphia and beyond.

 As Pennsylvania grapples with a new reality, we honor the work leaders in our community are doing to march citizens into brighter circumstances despite COVID-19. One of these leaders is Pennsylvania State Representative Joanna McClinton, serving the 191st district. A member of the house since 2015, she was the first woman to be PA’s House Caucus Chair; she is also a preacher, lawyer and social engineer. Representative McClinton shares her journey of providing access to community resources during COVID, and the trials, tribulations and triumphs she has faced thus far.

For McClinton, finding new mediums to serve communities, including those in West Philly, South West Philly, Yeadon and Darby, has been a taxing but rewarding challenge. 

“It’s truly been a surreal and new experience since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. In order to keep my staff and constituents safe, I closed my office on 60th Street for a few months, but we’ve recently been able to re-open and it’s been a blessing to see my friends and neighbors stop by the office again. COVID-19 has allowed me to engage with constituents in a new, virtual way and I am grateful that I’ve been able to keep in contact and update everyone on what’s going on. I have hosted multiple virtual townhalls, including one for small businesses to access grants and one for neighbors to apply for unemployment compensation benefits.

In Harrisburg, our legislative priorities are to support the wellbeing and safety for all Pennsylvanians. We’ve kept our distance and even set up a process to vote remotely for the first time in the PA Legislature’s history. It’s been quite an interesting few months.”


One of the most pressing and persistent issues McClinton has dealt with during COVID is lessening the hardships and hurt this pandemic has brought upon those in the 191st district. She says: “Whether it is trying to help one of my wisest constituents get groceries or helping another constituent deal with the unemployment compensation system, my team and I have been working hard every single day to offer assistance that will genuinely make a difference in people’s lives. In fact, although we were working remotely, we helped over 1,000 neighbors during the three-month closure of the office.”

Recently, Ms. McClinton joined the PA House Democratic Party and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus to discuss police reform. She says to citizens, “Do not let your elected officials off easy! Let your voices be heard, whether it’s via phone calls, email messages or social media posts. We are your elected representatives in Philadelphia, Delaware County and speak on your behalf in Harrisburg.  We need to hear from you on the issues that most affect your lives. I am proud to have worked in a bi-partisan way to pass meaningful police reform legislation that seeks to hold bad actors accountable for their actions, even if those actors are police officers. We passed important legislation that put us on better footing for police reform in this state, but there’s still more we must do.”

A truly dedicated official, McClinton extends an invitation for people to remain in the loop with COVID-related funding opportunities, especially for those working on the front lines. “First, I want to THANK essential workers for everything they’ve done–and continue to do–to help us weather this storm. I am in awe of the selfless work they do to keep us safe. I encourage all of them to go to my website and sign up to receive my blast emails in order to stay on top of important grant programs, like the COVID-19 PA Hazard Pay Grant Fund and other opportunities!”


As students, parents and business owners strap their boots to continue working toward goals in Red, Yellow and Green phases, Rep. McClinton encourages us to pull from our inner strength with tenacity: “Do not give up–we will get through this together! While this outbreak is new, our ancestors have conquered endless challenges to get us to where we are today.  No matter how hard things were, they never gave up and continued to press forward. The economy will have its ups and downs. But we know that we are on the right path when we are working together to do good and help others.”

Thank you Ms. McClinton for your service and your insight! We take our hat off to you in celebration of your contributions. Honorable McClinton also has a birthday coming up on August 19th, and we want to be the first to send her well wishes. Happy Birthday Honorable McClinton! Kudos to you honorable. Connect with her on Facebook at @ Rep. Joanna McClinton, on Instagram at @joanna_mcclinton and on Twitter at @RepMcClinton to be the first to know about available community resources.