Born and raised in the Mon Valley, Summer Lee is a dedicated organizer, attorney, and progressive state legislator. A proud alum of Woodland Hills public schools, Summer grew up in North Braddock and Swissvale before graduating from Penn State and Howard University School of Law, where she focused on civil rights and social justice advocacy. She worked as labor organizer, joining the Fight for $15 to increase the minimum wage, and lead voter mobilization efforts for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. In 2017, after repeated incidents of violence from police and school administrators against local students, Summer spearheaded a successful write-in initiative that transformed the local school board.
In 2018, at the urging of her neighbors, Summer threw her hat in the ring for State House – taking on a 20-year incumbent, doubling voter turnout, and winning with over 67%of the vote. She also made history, becoming the first Black woman from Western Pennsylvania ever elected to the legislature.
Throughout her time in office, Summer has been a voice for working families, and a champion for sustainable jobs, environmental justice, police accountability, reproductive rights, immigration rights, and gender and racial equity. She is a tireless advocate for workers’ rights, unions, the right to organize, and the fight for a liveable wage. Summer has also brought millions back to her community for infrastructure upgrades and community revitalization.
She has also continued to lead efforts to build a more reflective democracy. When corporate polluters pushed a dangerous fracking proposal in her home district, she organized in deep partnership with community leaders and frontline organizations – and won, stopping the proposal in its tracks. In 2019, she co-founded UNITE, a member-driven grassroots organization dedicated to building progressive electoral power up and down the ballot. Since its founding, UNITE has transformed regional politics, helping to expand the electorate, welcome emerging Democratic voters at scale, and elect slates of progressives – judges, magistrates, county councilors, school board members, and more, including Pittsburgh’s first Black mayor, Ed Gainey.
Now, Summer is running for Congress in PA-12 to deliver real power for our communities, and real progress towards economic, racial, and environmental justice. If elected, she would again make history as the first Black woman ever elected to Congress from Pennsylvania. She is running a people-powered campaign to build a brighter future where all working people can thrive.