Dwight Evans (politician)

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Dwight E. Evans
Dwight Evans official portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 2nd district
Assumed office
November 14, 2016
Preceded by Chaka Fattah
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
from the 203rd district
In office
January 4, 1981 – November 14, 2016
Preceded by James Jones
Succeeded by Isabella Fitzgerald
Personal details
Born (1954-05-16) May 16, 1954 (age 63)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Residence Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Alma mater La Salle University
Profession Educator
Website House website
Evans speaking during his 2007 mayoral campaign

Dwight E. Evans (born May 16, 1954) is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district. He defeated incumbent Chaka Fattah in the 2016 Democratic primary election, and won a special election on November 8, 2016, following Fattah's resignation from Congress. He previously served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, representing the 203rd District (Philadelphia County).

Early life and education[edit]

Evans grew up in the Germantown and West Oak Lane sections of Philadelphia[1] and is a graduate of the Community College of Philadelphia and La Salle University. After graduation, he became a teacher in the School District of Philadelphia and a community activist for the Urban League.

Early political career[edit]

Pennsylvania House of Representatives[edit]

Evans was first elected to office in 1980. The district, which encompasses West Oak Lane in Philadelphia, was heavily Democratic with a 95% African-American population.[1] As a result, he had minimal GOP opposition in winning re-election to his seat.

Evans was elected as the Democratic Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee in 1990 [2] and served in that capacity until November 2010.

In 2010, the Philadelphia Tribune named Evans one of the 10 most influential African-Americans in the city.[3]

Unsuccessful elections[edit]

Prior to his election to Congress, Evans ran for higher office four times unsuccessfully. In 1986, he sought the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor but finished third in the primary election to future Lieutenant Governor Mark Singel.[4]

In 1994, Evans became the first African American candidate to seek the office of Governor of Pennsylvania. In the Democratic primary election, Evans faced off with Lynn Yeakel and Lt. Governor Singel. He won endorsements from The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Again, however, Evans finished third in the primary with 22%.[5]

Evans made two runs for Mayor of Philadelphia. In 1999, in the race to succeed Ed Rendell, Evans finished fifth with 4.7% of the vote in a crowded primary won by John Street.[6] In 2007, despite comments by Governor Rendell that Evans was the "best qualified" for mayor,[7] he finished fifth again taking only 7.82% of the vote.[8]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2016 special election[edit]

Evans being sworn in by Speaker Paul Ryan

In November 2015, Evans announced that he would run for Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district in 2016 against Democratic incumbent Chaka Fattah.[9] In an upset, Evans beat long-standing incumbent Fattah during the Democratic nomination on April 26, 2016. Fattah later resigned amid a corruption scandal.[10]

The special election and general election were on the same day, November 8, 2016. Evans won the general and special election to fill the seat following Representative Fattah's resignation. Therefore, Evans was sworn in on Monday, November 14, 2016. This led to Evans being sworn in earlier than other new members the 2016 Congressional election, making him the most senior congressperson of the 115th U.S. Congress.[11]

Tenure[edit]

After the 2017 Congressional baseball shooting, Republican congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and Evans issued a joint statement of solidarity pledging to reconcile partisan differences.[12]

In August 2017, following the aftermath of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Evans and New York Representative Adriano Espaillat introduced legislation banning Confederate monuments on federal property.[13]

Other activities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Preceded by
James Jones
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 203rd District
1981–2016
Succeeded by
Isabella Fitzgerald
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Chaka Fattah
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district

November 8, 2016 – present
Incumbent
Preceded by
James Comer
Seniority in the U.S. House of Representatives
378th
Succeeded by
Brad Schneider