FUMO CELEBRATES SILVER ANNIVERSARY IN STATE SENATE
HARRISBURG, April 8, 2003 Ė State Senator Vincent J.
Fumo (D-Philadelphia) marked his 25th year representing the
First Senatorial District on April 3. Fumo was
first elected in a special election to fill a vacant seat in 1978. Since
then, he has been re-elected to full four-year terms six times.
"It is a job I love," said Fumo. "There were times when I
considered running for another office, but eventually I realized that the
state Senate is where I want to be. I can have a direct, positive impact
on the lives of Pennsylvanians, and on my city."
Fumo grew up in the South Philadelphia neighborhood that
he now represents. He had held Democratic party positions and government
jobs, but had never run for public office when he decided to seek the
state Senate seat in 1978. Early in his tenure, he was elected caucus
secretary, and in 1984 became chairman of the Senate Democratic
Appropriations Committee, a post he has held ever since.
Fumo has been a tireless advocate for Philadelphia and all
urban areas of the commonwealth. Among his accomplishments are enactment
of a dedicated funding stream for mass transit and permanent funding for
the child welfare system. He played a pivotal role in establishing the
Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA), which
rescued Philadelphia from the brink of bankruptcy in the early 1990s.
He has also been a strong supporter of the arts community
in Philadelphia. He secured funding from former Gov. Robert Casey for the
Kimmel Center, and for then-mayor Ed Rendellís Avenue of the Arts project.
Conductor Peter Nero has called him the best friend the Philly Pops ever
had. He helped gain funding for the Philadelphia Ballet, Orchestra, and
Opera, as well as the Wilma Theater, the Prince Theater, and the Pavoratti
International Voice Competition.
In all, Fumo can take primary responsibility for a
cumulative total of nearly $4 billion of direct state funding to
Philadelphia since he became Appropriations chairman. Included is money
for community and economic development projects, increased public
education support, transportation, health care, higher education, and
He has also applied his political leadership to other
causes. For example, after failing to win Legislative approval for an
amendment that would have mandated rate reductions for consumers in the
state electric deregulation bill in 1996, Fumo led a court battle that
resulted in guaranteed rate cuts of $2 billion for PECO customers.
More recently, Fumo led the effort to prevent the
collection of artifacts and documents of the Philadelphia Civil War
Library and Museum from being moved out of state. The result will be a new
Civil War Museum in the city.
He was the chief architect
of a thorough revision of state guns laws in 1995, which cracked down on
gun-related crime while preserving the rights of law-abiding citizens to
own firearms. His legislation created the stateís instant background check
system while toughening the list of offense that could result in someone
being denied the right to purchase a firearm. It also increased penalties
for gun-related crimes. The bill was supported by both the National Rifle
Association and gun-control advocate Sarah Brady.
With his widely respected intellect, combined with a
street-tough sense of how to play politics, Fumo gained a reputation as
one of the most powerful members of the General Assembly, despite
Democrats having been in the majority for only three of the 25 years that
he has served in the Senate.
"There have been ups and downs, but overall Iíve been very
happy. The best thing about the job is the way I believe Iíve been able to
help the city over the years. That, and the many friends from both
political parties that Iíve made at the Capitol."