Pa. Senate elects first female Democratic Whip in state history

Ed Gruver//November 18, 2022

Pa. Senate elects first female Democratic Whip in state history

Ed Gruver//November 18, 2022

Sen. Christine Tartaglione, D-Philadelphia, was elected by her Senate Democratic colleagues on Wednesday to be the first female Democratic Whip in Pennsylvania Senate history. 

Tartaglione is also the first person with a disability to serve as the Whip of any caucus in Pennsylvania’s 235-year history.  

Per reports from The Philadelphia Inquirer and WHTM ABC 27 News, Tartaglione needed a wheelchair after suffering a spinal cord injury in a boating accident on Labor Day weekend in 2003. She underwent several surgeries and physical therapy and in October 2010 walked to her senate seat for the first time in seven years. 

Per her Pennsylvania Senate bio, she is regarded as the Senate’s top advocate for working families, fair wages, and people with disabilities. In 2006 Tartaglione authored the state’s landmark minimum wage increase and was instrumental in the establishment of the state Office for People with Disabilities. She is the primary sponsor of bills seeking to establish a state civil service hiring preference for people with disabilities and provide real estate tax relief for disabled veterans. 

Tartaglione will bring more than 28 years of experience and relationships to the Whip position when the Senate returns in the 2023-24 legislative session. 

“For nearly three decades, I have had the honor to serve the people of the 2nd District of Pennsylvania,” she said in a statement. “I have seen my fair share of bad bills pass and great bills squandered away into the abyss of parliamentary procedure. 

“Being able to pull upon seven terms’ worth of experience and bi-partisan relationships will help our caucus move forward our progressive priorities.” 

Tartaglione has been representing the 2nd District since 1995. The district is in lower Northeast Philadelphia. Her committee assignments include Labor & Industry, in which she serves as Minority Chair, Banking & Insurance, Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure, and Law & Justice. 

Along with Tartaglione, the following Senate Democrats have been elected to leadership positions by the caucus’s new and returning members: 

  • Leader – Jay Costa, Jr. (Allegheny County) 
  • Appropriations Committee Chair – Vincent Hughes (Montgomery/Philadelphia counties) 
  • Appropriations Vice Chair – Tim Kearney (Chester/Delaware counties) 
  • Caucus Chair – Wayne D. Fontana (Allegheny County) 
  • Caucus Secretary – Maria Collett (Bucks/Montgomery counties) 
  • Administrator – Judy Schwank (Berks County)