Pennsylvania state Rep. Joanna McClinton was voted this week by her colleagues as the new speaker of the State House, become the first woman and the second Black in the state’s history to hold the post.

The Philadelphia Democrat formally won the position Tuesday when she defeated Republican Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar from Somerset County by a 102-99 vote. Democrats took a one-person majority in the House after winning three special elections early last month.

“It’s almost 250 years before a woman could stand at this desk, not just to give a prayer, but to get the gavel,” she said after her swearing-in, The Associated Press reported. “That’s pretty incredible.”

McClinton, 40, who has served in the House since 2015, succeeds Berks County’s Mark Rozzi, a moderate Democrat who stepped aside for McClinton after he himself was surprisingly elected to the post in January.

Rozzi, who said it was his decision to step aside, praised McClinton as “one of the most intelligent and compassionate women I have met in politics.”

“I will not allow the allure of power or the trappings of office to keep me from doing what is right,” Rozzi said Tuesday of his decision, AP reported

The first Black to lead the Pennsylvania House chamber was Leroy Irvis from 1977-1979 and 1983-1988. McClinton is a native and resident of southwest Philadelphia.

She studied at LaSalle University and Villanova Law School before working as a public defender and an attorney in the state senate.

McClinton joins Black females Rachel Talbot Ross of Maine and Adrienne A. Jones of Maryland as speakers of their chambers.

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