Austin’s path to the second-highest office in the Commonwealth started in McKeesport, a former steel town in western Pennsylvania. Growing up, he watched his mom – a hairdresser for more than 40 years – juggle raising a family with putting food on the table, and he watched his dad work hard as a union bus driver.
At the age of 16, Austin was living in McKeesport, when gun violence came to their doorstep. After a shooting in his neighborhood, he got involved in his community, starting a youth advisory council with the mayor and a youth gun violence prevention program at his high school.
Austin went on to study political science at the University of Pittsburgh, becoming a first-generation college graduate and then pursuing a career in public service. He returned to McKeesport to work for the Allegheny County executive. In that role he helped create the first violence prevention office within the Allegheny Department of Health.
By the age of 21, he had earned praise from the Tribune-Review, which called him “a veteran at the politics of helping others.”
In 2018, Austin successfully ran for the state House of Representatives to represent the Mon Valley and his hometown of McKeesport, becoming the first African American to represent his legislative district.
As lieutenant governor, Austin presides over the Pennsylvania Senate, chairs the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, leads the Local Government Advisory Committee and serves on the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Council. Gov. Josh Shapiro has also appointed Austin to chair the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
While serving as lieutenant governor, Austin is focused on combating the epidemic of gun violence, supporting small and minority-owned businesses, advocating for working-class Pennsylvanians and being a champion for communities that feel like they’ve been left behind.
Austin currently resides in Allegheny County with his wife, Blayre Holmes Davis.