A relentless fighter for working families, children and local communities, Wayne Fontana was first elected to represent the 42nd Senatorial District in the Pennsylvania Senate in 2005. In addition to 19 suburban communities, his district includes 20 wards within the City of Pittsburgh, including a vibrant downtown, North Shore and Strip District destinations.
Wayne currently serves in the leadership position of Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman, a role that permits him to set the daily caucus agenda and lead the discussion on bills that are under consideration before the Senate. In addition to his leadership role, he serves as Democratic Chair of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee. He is also a member of the standing committees on Community, Economic & Recreational Development, Law & Justice, Rules & Executive Nominations, Urban Affairs & Housing, as well as the Democratic Policy Committee and the Senate Committee on Ethics and Official Conduct. He serves on a number of bipartisan, bicameral caucuses including the Climate Caucus, Arts Caucus, Community College Caucus, Early Childhood Education Caucus, Manufacturing Caucus, Women’s Health Caucus and Real Estate Caucus.
At the state level, Wayne serves as Vice Chairman of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). He is an appointed member of the Task Force on Lead Exposure and the Hazards of Lead Poisoning Advisory Committee, Small Business Advocacy Council, the Joint State Government Task Force on Real Property Law and the Joint State Government Task Force and Advisory Committee to Study the Current System for Providing Services to Indigent Criminal Defendants.
In the Pittsburgh region, Wayne is chairman of the Sports & Exhibition Authority Board, a member of the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County, board member of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Land Bank.
As a senator, Wayne has worked to bring new jobs and revitalization to many of the struggling industrial communities he represents. To that end, he is the prime sponsor of legislation that would increase funding and accessibility to the wildly successful Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) which attracts businesses to invest in projects in distressed and struggling neighborhoods to improve the quality of life for residents while also assisting businesses to expand their footprint through increased community involvement. He has also co-sponsored a legislative package that would invest in statewide job creation and economic development incentives. Most recently, Wayne authored legislation that was enacted which will assist homeowners and municipalities struggling to eradicate the ongoing lead exposure issue to allow municipal authorities to use their own resources for the rehabilitation and replacement of private water and sewer laterals that are attached to public systems when the public health and safety are a factor.
Wayne has also championed causes aimed at helping at-risk children. His hallmark legislation was a law that toughened child abuse reporting requirements for school personnel. He also authored legislation that established a statewide task force to examine the educational problems facing homeless children; helped expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); and helped launch a website to assist people working with child abuse victims. He is also prime sponsor of legislation that would establish full-day kindergarten programs within every school district in Pennsylvania and supports a severance tax on natural gas drilling to dedicate funding for educational needs, including universal pre-K programs.
Prior to his election to the Senate, Wayne served as an inaugural member of Allegheny County Council, where he was elected to serve as vice president. During his tenure on council, Wayne was responsible for authoring the County’s Homestead Exemption Program and secured passage of legislation that reduced Allegheny County’s millage tax rate.
Wayne is a realtor and real estate broker by profession. He has previously worked for Howard Hanna Real Estate Services as a Sales Manager and Associate Broker and is a past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award by the Realtors Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh.
A former member of Boilermakers Local 154 and Teamsters Locals 249 and 211, Wayne has deep roots in the community. He previously served as Vice Chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee and as a 19th Ward Committee person. He is as a member of the Italian Sons & Daughters of America and was a recipient of the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corporation Community Leader Award.
A graduate the Community College of Allegheny County, Wayne holds an Associate’s Degree in Business. Born and raised in the Beechview section of the City of Pittsburgh, he and his wife Francine reside in the Brookline section of Pittsburgh. They have three children and five grandchildren.