Senator Christine M. Tartaglione Official Portrait. (Photo: Provided)

Born in 1960 in Philadelphia, ‘Tina’ (as she is known to those who have been impacted by her office) is no outsider to politics in Philadelphia.  Christine M. Tartaglione is the Senator of Pennsylvania’s 2nd District, and she recently spoke to Impacto as she looks back on her almost 30 years of public service. 

Raised by parents Eugene and Margaret (Marge) Tartaglione, the Senator’s mother had a long legacy in Philadelphia city politics.  Marge Tartaglione served as a city commissioner for Philadelphia from the 1970s until she lost a race for reelection in 2011.  Tartaglione’s mother passed away in 2019 at the age of 86, succumbing to respiratory ailments.  Having seen her mother dedicate so many years of her life to public service, Senator Tartaglione, too, would go on to build her own legacy in public service. 

In 1994, Christine Tartaglione won an election to the Pennsylvania State Senate, becoming only the fifth woman to achieve that role at the time. With her mother Marge as a role model, Senator Tartaglione worked to move up the ranks of her party in Harrisburg. In 1995, Tartaglione was elected Vice-Chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, and she was promoted to serve as Party Chair between 1998 and 2002. However, 2003 was a difficult year for her.  

Senator Christine M. Tartaglione Official Portrait. (Photo: Provided)

A boating accident that caused a spinal injury gave Senator Tartaglione the distinction of being the only State Senator in Pennsylvania in a wheelchair. In November of 2022, Senator Tartaglione was elected among her Democratic colleagues in the State Senate as not only the first woman, but the first person with a disability to be Democratic Whip.

Regardless of Senator Tartaglione’s political background, her personal experiences have shed light on the struggles of people with disabilities. 

As a State Senator, she has advocated for the rights of working people, people with disabilities, and other groups, including immigrants, that have been marginalized in society. “I was elected in 1994… It took me from 1995 until 2006 to change the minimum wage.” 

In 2006 Senator Tartaglione achieved a historic milestone by having her bill SB 1090 passed, which raised the minimum wage in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from $5.15 per hour to $7.15 per hour, signed into law by Governor Ed Rendell. Recently, in late May of 2024, Senator Tartaglione introduced a bill, SB 1186, which, if signed into law, would raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania to a living wage of $20 per hour. As part of her case, Tartaglione argues “every state around us, including West Virginia, their minimum wage is $15 per hour.” 

Senator Tartaglione is a known entity throughout her district. In her interview, she raises the point that every year she has worked as a State Senator, she has had at least one person of Hispanic heritage working for her office (Tartaglione is going on her 30th year in office, having been elected in November of 1994). 

In 2022, during the last year of the Wolf Administration, Tartaglione was honored by the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs. During Hispanic Heritage Month, this commission awarded Senator Tartaglione with the honor of the ‘Community Lifetime Service Award.’ Senator Tartaglione boasts of having formed deep relationships with the Hispanic members and elected representatives of her district, always showing an open door to anyone willing to reach out to her or her office. 

Senator Christine M. Tartaglione attending a gathering in support of teachers. (Photo: Provided)

Only recently has Tartaglione brought awareness to her struggle with alcohol addiction. “I am very passionate about drug and alcohol issues and have been sober for 21 years… I understand a lot about addiction.” The Pennsylvania State Senate passed Senator Tartaglione’s bill, SB 165, banning safe injection sites in Pennsylvania. Senator Tartaglione spoke after the bill was passed “…The vote today shows it doesn’t matter how rural or urban, liberal or conservative, or far east or far west your district is, addictions affect every square inch of Pennsylvania, and we need to prioritize recovery and sobriety.”   

Senator Tartaglione explained that in her district two mobile suboxone units operate on a rotating schedule along different corners of city blocks. These two suboxone units are joined by mobile methadone and xylazine units that can quickly respond to any crisis. “We did the mobile units before anybody else did,” she states. Recently Senator Tartaglione has advocated for mobile health units across the City of Philadelphia that can quickly respond to drug-related medical emergencies. 

Senator Christine Tartaglione’s career spans a lengthy record of achievements in Pennsylvania’s 2nd District. In that career, Tartaglione has advocated for the rights of people with disabilities, the economically marginalized, immigrants, addicts, both those in recovery and those in recovery, and all others left behind by society. 


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