McClinton appoints Vera Jr. to SEPTA board

HARRISBURG, March 4 – As a lifelong Philadelphian, Joanna McClinton often used SEPTA trains and buses herself and she understands the many ways in which mass transit supports lives and industries across the entire region.

In her new capacity as leader of Pennsylvania’s House Democratic Caucus, McClinton has named Philadelphia labor leader Esteban Vera Jr. to SEPTA’s governing board. He is the first Latino to serve on the board.

“The people I represent depend on SEPTA services every day to get to their jobs, to school, to medical visits, to go shopping – and despite huge challenges during the pandemic, SEPTA has continued to be there for people who rely on it,” McClinton said.

“Esteban Vera Jr. adds an important perspective to SEPTA’s leadership, both as the first Latino and as the business manager of Laborers’ Local #57 for the last five years. He worked on construction and organizing before that,” she said.

Vera Jr. grew up in North Philadelphia and is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Bosnia in the 1990s. Last fall he was profiled in Al Dia as “Philadelphia’s Latino Labor Champion.”

His work as the top official in the Laborers’ local includes overseeing contract negotiations, organizing and member representation. The members of Local #57 often work on heavy highway and bridge construction projects.

“I’m excited to see how Mr. Vera will contribute to guiding the decisions of one of our foremost regional entities,” McClinton said. “He brings an understanding of not just the importance of SEPTA’s infrastructure, but also the intrinsic value of the men and women who work there.”

Vera Jr. said he welcomes the chance to help lead SEPTA.

“SEPTA quite literally ties our region together and it should never be taken for granted,” he said. “I’m honored to be asked to serve and grateful to Leader McClinton for adding my voice to the conversation about protecting and improving transit services.

“Especially going forward after the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need to make careful decisions to ensure SEPTA can continue to fulfill its vital mission,” Vera Jr. said.