2021 40 Under 40 Honoree: Summer Lee
“This is a very, very urgent moment ... Helping people to identify their place in this system, and their power in this system, is what we need right now.”
Summer Lee (33)
Pennsylvania State Representative, 34th District
There’s a perception that Pennsylvania is deeply divided — and that many of its districts are just as ideologically split. To state Rep. Summer Lee, though, the interests of Pennsylvanians are shared.
“These people are all folks who care about environmental justice — who care about working-class interests,” she says. “It’s not difficult to find those common threads.”
Since being elected in 2018 to represent the 34th district — which includes parts of the Mon Valley, the eastern suburbs and the east side of Pittsburgh — Lee has sponsored more than 70 bills and served on the education, health and judiciary committees. While common ground is possible, Lee says, “This is a very, very urgent moment … Helping people to identify their place in this system, and their power in this system, is what we need right now.”
To that end, Lee in 2019 founded UNITE PAC, dedicated to supporting candidates who can “organize for power in their neighborhoods, particularly through local elections,” as the action committee’s website puts it.