Behind the Scenes - Joanna McClinton

Last Updated: Sep 28, 2022

Earlier this year, PAMED sat down with Representative Joanna McClinton (D – Delaware County, Philadelphia) to learn more her background, serving as the House Democratic Leader, and how she feels about issues affecting patients and physicians in the Pennsylvania. This sit-down interview was conducted as a part of PAMED’s Behind the Scenes Series.


A graduate of Villanova School of Law, Representative Joanna McClinton’s first step into politics was serving as Chief Counsel for her then-State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams. When there was a vacant seat to be filled, McClinton says that Williams gave her the nudge she needed to get over her initial hesitation to run for office.

“While I initially said ‘No thanks’ many times, I am so glad that I got past my anxiety of running for public office,” McClinton said. “I recognized that my voice counts outside of my staff position, and I can advocate for my neighbors as an elected official.”

Currently, Representative McClinton serves as the House Democratic Leader. In this role, McClinton says she’s had to learn to serve two different constituencies: her neighbors in Southwest Philadelphia and Delaware County, as well as Democratic members of the House across the Commonwealth.

“Everything that I’m saying and doing is not just on my neighbors’ behalf, it’s on behalf of my caucus,” McClinton said. “I had to learn to sit and listen to their concerns the same way that I do my neighbors.”

With her many responsibilities, Representative McClinton does not have time to become an expert in all of the fields that are addressed in legislation. That’s why, she says, it’s important to turn to the experts.

“I spent time practicing law as a public defender and in the State Capitol, but I’ve never been a medical practitioner,” McClinton said. “I look to groups like PAMED to hear directly from the experts, to hear their everyday experiences, hear what their challenges are, and hear how we can make better policies to help them do their jobs.”

As a member of House leadership, Representative McClinton had to relinquish her committee assignments to other members of the House. That doesn’t stop her from having legislative passions, however; Representative McClinton has remained a staunch advocate for criminal justice reform, equitable opportunities for jobs, and funding for public schools.

When it comes to issues affecting patients and physicians, Representative McClinton got to witness things first-hand over the last few years. While caring for her grandmother, Representative McClinton noticed the strain that was placed on health care professionals. She believes that working with PAMED and our members is what will help address these concerns.

“We have to make sure there are appointments available, that our practitioners have a break and are not working around the clock, and that the prescriptions that are prescribed for patients are within reach” McClinton said. “We need to make sure that our neighbors should not have to choose between keeping the lights on or getting pain medication to treat their arthritis.”

“It should never have to be a debate, but unfortunately in many urban, rural, and suburban communities, people are facing these hardships.”

Outside of her responsibilities at the Capitol, Representative McClinton enjoys cooking and getting together with her family and friends. She also loves watching Disney movies with her two goddaughters, which she says helps her relax and unplug from her duties in Harrisburg.

To learn more about Representative Joanna McClinton, visit her website -

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