Rep.-elect Emily Kinkead's Biography
Emily Kinkead is a native Northsider who is driven by a passion to empower Pennsylvanians and break down barriers for working families.
Born to a father who worked as a Pittsburgh paramedic, Emily credits him — the son of a single mother who worked his way through medical school — for her strong work ethic and desire to serve. Her father’s job took the family to Grand Forks, North Dakota, where Emily attended high school before returning to her native PA.
Emily knew early on that she wanted to spend her life advocating on behalf of people needing a strong voice. After attending Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania — where she earned degrees in biology and political science — she went to Washington, D.C., where she started out advocating on behalf of people with disabilities.
Concerned about the influence of special interests in silencing the voice of vulnerable people, Emily joined Common Cause, where she helped organize public education programs about the disenfranchising effects of gerrymandering and money in politics. She also mobilized youth to demand responsive climate change policy.
She then went to work in the legislative policy office of the National Institutes of Health, which advocates for continued Congressional support for government funding of medical research.
Wanting to advocate more forcefully on behalf of underserved and vulnerable populations, Emily then attended law school at the University of Pittsburgh.
While working toward her law degree, Emily interned with a legal aid clinic in Eldoret, Kenya, protecting the rights of HIV+ individuals and victims of gender or domestic violence. She also interned at Neighborhood Legal Services in Pittsburgh, assisting low-income tenants in landlord-tenant disputes across the region, and at the Pitt Law Immigration Clinic, helping clients seeking asylum in the United States.
Emily clerked for Commonwealth Court Judge Michael Wojcik for two years before entering private practice.
In addition to her legal career, Emily is an avid volunteer. As a member of Pittsburgh’s 50 Finest 2019, she worked tirelessly to increase public awareness about cystic fibrosis and raise money for a cure. She also serves on the board of several nonprofit organizations dedicated to environmental conservation and to improving life for families facing economic hurdles.
Emily decided to run for office in part because she fears Pennsylvanians have lost faith in their democracy and in the promise that hard work will bring success and a better life for their children. She is working to restore that faith by being a strong advocate and resource at home in Pittsburgh and an outspoken, tireless voice in Harrisburg on behalf of working families and underrepresented neighborhoods.
A staunch believer that government must work for the people, Emily is pursuing legislative priorities that promote a living wage, responsible development and infrastructure, criminal justice reform, reproductive justice, LGBTQIA+ equality, and clean air and water for everyone. She is also working to make the Pittsburgh area a more livable region for Black people, and especially Black women.
Emily serves Pennsylvania’s 20th Legislative District in Allegheny County, which includes parts of the city of Pittsburgh; Ross Township; and Avalon, Bellevue and West View boroughs.