When the 116th United States Congress convened Thursday on Capitol Hill, the Lehigh Valley’s first ever woman to represent the 7th District of Pennsylvania took the oath of office to serve her two-year term.
As Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, Susan Wild (D) will be the first Democrat to represent the region since 1999, following Rep. Charlie Dent’s retirement in May 2018. Wild defeated Marty Nothstein (R) in the November midterms, winning 58 percent of the vote, according to lehighvalleylive.com.
But the former Allentown solicitor had the advantage of starting her tenure early, having been sworn in to the 115th Congress on Nov. 27 after narrowly winning a special election against Nothstein to fill the remainder of Dent’s term.
But the special election victory was through the old 15th District, previously occupied by Dent. The larger victory to send Wild to the 116th Congress for the full two years was through the constituency of the newly-made 7th District, after Pennsylvania changed the state’s district lines to resolve a gerrymandering case. The new 7th District includes all of Lehigh and Northampton counties, as well as parts of southern Monroe County.
Although Wild was serving the 15th District since Nov. 27, she now sits in Washington on behalf of 7th District voters.
Wild cast herself as a progressive candidate, identifying herself as pro-choice who wants more action on gun control, equal rights for LGBTQ individuals and supports legislation to give legal protections to so-called DREAMers, which are individuals brought into America illegally at a young age.
In a ceremonial day showcasing humility and rare bipartisanship, Wild today voted in favor of Nancy Pelosi to become Speaker of the House. Some other notable moments of Wild’s short time in Washington include voting for the bipartisan FIRST STEP Act in December, which was signed into law by President Trump, and sponsoring her first bill to continue to appropriate money for the Coast Guard during the partial government shutdown.