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A relentless fighter for working families and underprivileged children, Wayne D. Fontana was first elected to the Senate on May 17, 2005 in a special election. He was re-elected to represent the 42nd Senatorial District in Allegheny County in 2006 and 2010.
Senator Fontana currently serves as Democratic Chair of the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee. He is also a member of the Judiciary, Law & Justice, Policy and Urban Affairs & Housing committees. Senator Fontana is also a member of the Senate Committee on Ethics and Official Conduct. In addition, the senator serves on the Legislative Arts Caucus, Community College Caucus, Life Sciences & Biotechnology Caucus and Lupus Caucus.
Wayne has served as an appointed board member of the PA Higher Education Assistance Agency and currently serves as the board’s Vice Chairman. In the Pittsburgh region, Wayne is the Chairman of the Sports & Exhibition Authority, having been elected Chairman three times, a member of the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County, a Point Park University trustee, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation.
His senate district comprises Pittsburgh’s vibrant downtown along with the city’s budding North Shore development, historic South Side, colorful strip district and Fifth Avenue near the new Consol Center. All of these areas are growing and transforming into residential, retail, culture, sports, tourism and entertainment destinations.
Wayne was born and raised in Beechview, Allegheny County, by his parents along with his two older brothers. He and his wife reside in the Brookline section of Pittsburgh where they are members of Resurrection Catholic Church. They have three grown children and five grandchildren.
Prior to his election to the Senate, Wayne served as an inaugural member of Allegheny County Council, representing the 12th District. He served as the council’s vice president January of 2004 through March 2005. During his tenure at council, Wayne served as chairman of the Property Assessment Committee, the Economic Development Committee, the Executive Committee, and the Budget & Finance Committee. As a member of council, Wayne was appointed to serve on the Property Assessment Oversight Board and the Allegheny County Vacant Property Committee and as chair of the Redistricting Committee, responsible for the drawing of Council districts. Legislatively, Wayne was responsible for authoring the County’s Homestead Exemption Program and secured passage of legislation that reduced Allegheny County’s millage tax rate. He also fought for Pennsylvania residents by signing a pledge sponsoring a Living Wage Ordinance to support city and county working people by providing a fair, hourly wage.
Wayne has deep roots in the community. He previously served as a 19th Ward Committee Person for the Allegheny County Democratic Committee. He also takes an active role in the community as a member of the Realtors Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh, the Italian Sons & Daughters of America and the Lion’s Club. In the past, he has performed volunteer work for the Children’s Hospital Free Care Fund and is a former member of Boilermakers Local 154 and Teamsters Locals 249 and 211.
Wayne is, by profession, a real estate sales associate and broker. He most recently worked for Howard Hanna Real Estate Services as a Sales Manager and Associate Broker. In 2004, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award by the Realtors Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh (RAMP). Wayne holds an Associate’s Degree in Business from the Community College of Allegheny County and also participates in continuing education for real estate licensing and bi-yearly education requirements to retain his broker’s license.
As a senator, Wayne has championed causes aimed at helping abused and underprivileged children and families. He authored bills that would toughen child abuse reporting requirements for school personnel; established a 19-member task force to examine the educational problems facing homeless children; helped expand the CHIP program that provides health insurance for children; and helped launch a website to assist people working with child abuse victims, both caregivers and advocates. Furthermore, Senator Fontana successfully led the Senate Democrats earlier this year asking the Pennsylvania Attorney General to allocate designated funding to re-start the Homeowners’ Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) that assists families in preventing foreclosure.
Senator Fontana has also fought to bring new jobs and revitalization to many of the struggling industrial communities he represents. To that end, he has co-sponsored a legislative package that would invest in statewide job creation and economic development incentives – without raising taxes.
Knowing what a crushing burden property taxes are to working families, Senator Fontana has also fought to cut and control local taxes. Wayne recently called for a moratorium on the Allegheny County reassessment process until a statewide solution can be agreed to. He also introduced legislation that would give Allegheny County more power to shift and cut property taxes. Furthermore, Senator Fontana has called for a study on the impact of tax exempt properties on a community’s tax base.
Updated August 2013