Susan Ellis Wild (born June 7, 1957) is an American attorney and politician from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A Democrat, she is a member of the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district. The district is in the heart of the Lehigh Valley, and includes Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Bangor, and East Stroudsburg. Wild spent the last two months of 2018 as the member for Pennsylvania’s 15th congressional district after Charlie Dent resigned in 2018. She co-chairs the New Democrat Coalition Climate Change Task Force and is vice chair of both the Congressional Labor and Working Families Caucus and the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations. Wild is the first woman to represent the Lehigh Valley in Congress.[1]

Early life

Wild is the daughter of Norman Leith and Susan Stimus Ellis.[2] Her mother was a journalist. Her father served in the United States Air Force during World War II and the Korean War. Wild was born at Wiesbaden Air Force Base, West Germany, while her father was stationed there. She also lived in France, California, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C.[3]

Early political career

Wild volunteered on Jimmy Carter‘s 1976 presidential campaign.[3] She graduated from American University in 1978.[4] She earned her Juris Doctor at George Washington University Law School in 1982.[5] She studied under John Banzhaf.[3] Wild became a partner at the law firm Gross McGinley in 1999.[6]

Wild ran for Lehigh County Commissioner in 2013, but lost.[7] She was appointed the first female solicitor of Allentown, Pennsylvania, in January 2015.[8] She served as Solicitor of Allentown starting on January 7, 2015, when she was confirmed by the Allentown City Council.[9]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2018 general

On December 31, 2017, Wild resigned from office to pursue her candidacy for the United States House of Representatives to succeed retiring Representative Charlie Dent (R) in 2018.[10] Dent’s district had previously been the 15th, represented by seven-term Republican Charlie Dent. She won a six-candidate Democratic Party primary election with 33% of the vote, narrowly defeating Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, and faced Republican Lehigh County Commissioner Marty Nothstein in the November 6 general election.[11][12] She defeated Nothstein in the general election with 53.5% of the vote to Northstein’s 43.5%.[13][14]

2018 special

On the same day, Wild also ran in a separate special election for the balance of Dent’s term; he had resigned in May after announcing the previous fall that he would not run for reelection.[15][16] On November 15, 2018, it was announced that Wild had won the 15th congressional district’s special election, receiving 130,353 votes to Nothstein’s 129,593 votes.[17][18]

There was a closer margin in the special election because that election was under the former 15th district, which had been thrown out by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in February 2018. The former 15th had stretched from the Lehigh Valley into heavily Republican territory between Lebanon and Harrisburg, by way of a tendril in Berks County. The new 7th district is a more compact district centered in the Lehigh Valley, and includes a sliver of the Poconos.[citation needed]

2020

Wild ran for reelection to a second term. She was unopposed in the Democratic primary[19] and faced former Lehigh County Commissioner Lisa Scheller[20] in the general election. Wild defeated Scheller with 51.9% of the vote, less than was expected.[21]

Tenure

Wild speaking with press in Allentown, Pennsylvania

Wild is a self-described “pro-business” Democrat.[22][23]

Wild has been critical of Brazil‘s President Jair Bolsonaro for holding views characterized as “far-right“, “misogynistic“, “homophobic” and “anti-immigrant“. In March 2019, she and 29 other Democratic lawmakers wrote U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a letter that read in part, “Since the election of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro as president, we have been particularly alarmed by the threat Bolsonaro’s agenda poses to the LGBTQ+ community and other minority communities, women, labor activists, and political dissidents in Brazil. We are deeply concerned that, by targeting hard-won political and social rights, Bolsonaro is endangering Brazil’s long-term democratic future.”[24]

In 2020, Wild co-sponsored a bill to reauthorize the Older Americans Act for five years with a 35% increase in funding. President Donald Trump signed the bill into law in March 2020.[25]

Donald Trump

On December 10, 2019, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee advanced two articles of impeachment against Republican President Donald Trump. On December 18, 2019, Wild voted for the first article of impeachment, “abuse of power”, and the second article of impeachment, “obstruction of Congress”.[26]

Joe Biden

As of September 2022, Wild had voted in line with Joe Biden‘s stated position 100% of the time.[27]

Gun policy

In 2022, Wild voted for H.R. 1808: Assault Weapons Ban of 2022.[28][29]

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Wild cosponsored a resolution to expel Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress, suggesting that she “advocated violence against our peers, the Speaker and our government.”[30]

Carbon County

Wild drew some controversy when she said, “Carbon County has many attributes, but it is a county that—although it was once an Obama county—it since has become a Trump county. I’m not quite sure what was in their heads because the people of Carbon County are exactly the kind of people who should not be voting for a Donald Trump, but I guess I might have to school them on that a little bit. But most of all, it is a very rural county.”[31]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

Democratic primary results (2018)
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Susan Wild 15,001 33.3
DemocraticJohn Morganelli13,56530.1
DemocraticGreg Edwards11,51025.6
DemocraticRoger Ruggles2,4435.4
DemocraticRick Daugherty1,7183.8
DemocraticDavid Clark7661.7
Total votes45,003 100.0
Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district, 2018
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Susan Wild 140,813 53.5
RepublicanMarty Nothstein114,43743.5
LibertarianTim Silfies8,0113.0
Total votes263,261 100.0
Democratic gain from Republican
Pennsylvania’s 15th congressional district, 2018 (special)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
DemocraticSusan Wild 130,353 48.54% +10.52%
RepublicanMarty Nothstein129,59448.26%-10.13%
LibertarianTim Silfies8,5793.19%-0.40%
Total votes268,526 100.0% N/A
Democratic gain from Republican
Democratic primary results (2020)
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Susan Wild 76,878 100
Total votes76,878 100.0
Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district, 2020
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Susan Wild 195,713 51.9
RepublicanLisa Scheller181,56948.1
IndependentAnthony Sayegh (write in)00
Total votes377,282 100.0

Personal life

Wild married Russell Wild in 1981. They divorced in 2003 after 22 years of marriage. They have two adult children. Following her divorce, Wild reunited with Kerry Acker, who remained her life partner until his death by suicide on May 25, 2019.[40] She lives in South Whitehall Township, west of Allentown.[3] She is Jewish.[41]

See also

References

  1. ^ “Susan Wild wins PA-7; Lehigh Valley sending region’s first woman to Congress”. The Morning Call. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  2. ^ “Susan Stimus Ellis”. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d “Five things you probably don’t know about the Lehigh Valley’s first congresswoman – The Morning Call”. Mcall.com. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  4. ^ Veitch, Abbie (February 21, 2018). “Alumna Susan Wild runs for Pennsylvania congressional seat”. Theeagleonline.com. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  5. ^ Baskerville, Jessica (March 5, 2018). “Inspired by her classes, law school alumna runs for House seat – The GW Hatchet”. Gwhatchet.com. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  6. ^ “Allentown solicitor plans congressional bid in 15th District – The Morning Call”. Mcall.com. November 2, 2018. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  7. ^ “Susan Ellis Wild to serve as Allentown’s next solicitor – The Morning Call”. Mcall.com. November 2, 2018. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  8. ^ “Allentown solicitor plans congressional bid in 15th District – The Morning Call”. Mcall.com. October 2, 2017. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  9. ^ Sieger, Edward (January 8, 2015). “Allentown City Council appoints new city solicitor”. The Express-Times. Archived from the original on May 19, 2015. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  10. ^ Opilo, Emily (November 22, 2017). “Allentown Solicitor Susan Wild resigning as congressional campaign heats up”. The Morning Call. Archived from the original on March 13, 2018. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  11. ^ “How Susan Wild went from a relative unknown to PA-7 primary winner – The Morning Call”. Mcall.com. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  12. ^ “Susan Wild claims Lehigh Valley’s Democratic primary for Congress”. lehighvalleylive.com. May 15, 2018. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  13. ^ Ellis, Niv (November 7, 2018). “Democrat Susan Wild wins House race in Pennsylvania”. The Hill.
  14. ^ “Pennsylvania Election Results: Seventh House District – Election Results 2018 – The New York Times”. The New York Times. November 6, 2018. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  15. ^ “Marty Nothstein leads in race to finish Charlie Dent’s term – The Morning Call”. Mcall.com. November 2, 2018. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  16. ^ “15th District candidates set for special 2018 election”. lehighvalleylive.com. July 31, 2018. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  17. ^ “Susan Wild wins special congressional election to finish Charlie Dent’s term – The Morning Call”. Mcall.com. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  18. ^ 69 News (June 23, 2016). “Susan Wild announces victory in 15th district special election”. WFMZ. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  19. ^ Boockvar, Kathy. “Pennsylvania Elections – Office Results | Representative in Congress”. electionreturns.pa.gov. Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  20. ^ Radzievich, Nicole; Olson, Laura (October 14, 2019). “Republican Lisa Scheller announces congressional bid for Lehigh Valley based district”. The Morning Call. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  21. ^ “2020 Presidential Election – Representative in Congress”. Pennsylvania Department of State. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  22. ^ Sotomayor, Marianna. “Rep. Susan Wild carefully finds middle ground, except on abortion”. Washington Post.
  23. ^ Zengerle, Jason (June 29, 2022). “The Vanishing Moderate Democrat”. New York Times. Retrieved June 29, 2022.
  24. ^ “Brazil’s far-right president tweeted out a pornographic video to condemn Carnival”. Vox. March 6, 2019.
  25. ^ “President Donald Trump signs bill from Lehigh Valley Rep. Susan Wild boosting funding for Meals on Wheels, other older adult services”. The Morning Call. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  26. ^ “Here’s how the House voted on Trump’s impeachment”. Politico. December 18, 2019.
  27. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (April 22, 2021). “Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?”. FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  28. ^ “House passes assault-style weapons ban | CNN Politics”. CNN. July 29, 2022.
  29. ^ “H.R. 1808: Assault Weapons Ban of 2022 — House Vote #410 — Jul 29, 2022”.
  30. ^ “72 House Democrats Support Resolution to Expel GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene”. CBS News.
  31. ^ “Carbon reacts to Wild’s remarks about Trump vote | Times News Online”.
  32. ^ “Leadership | New Democrat Coalition”. newdemocratcoalition.house.gov. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  33. ^ “Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus – Summary from LegiStorm”. www.legistorm.com. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  34. ^ “Members”. LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  35. ^ “Congressional Ukrainian Caucus – Summary from LegiStorm”. www.legistorm.com. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  36. ^ “Caucus Members”. Black Maternal Health Caucus. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  37. ^ “Committees and Caucuses”. Representative Susan Wild. December 13, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  38. ^ “Committees and Caucuses”. Representative Susan Wild. December 13, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  39. ^ Olson, Laura. “Susan Wild wins special congressional election to finish Charlie Dent’s term”. mcall.com. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  40. ^ Kate Sullivan (June 27, 2019). “Rep. Susan Wild reveals partner’s recent death was suicide | CNN Politics”. CNN.
  41. ^ “Democrat Holds Slim Lead In Jew vs. Jew Race For Pennsylvania Swing Seat”. Jewish Daily Forward. September 17, 2018. Retrieved December 27, 2018.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania’s 15th congressional district

2018–2019
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district

2019–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by

Mary Gay Scanlon
United States representatives by seniority
289th
Succeeded by