Steve Santarsiero considers public service a calling.
Steve Santarsiero considers public service a calling. After witnessing the September 11th attacks from the window of his law office in Newark, New Jersey, he decided to seek a new career in teaching as a way to serve the community.
After a couple of years of night classes at Holy Family University, Steve received his state certification and was hired as a social studies teacher at Bensalem High School. At BHS, he worked hard to give the next generation a strong foundation in history and civics to help them succeed and participate fully as citizens of our country.
At about that same time, Steve became a leader in a grassroots movement to stop a big box shopping mall in Lower Makefield. That experience led him to run for township supervisor. He was elected in 2003. As a supervisor, he worked with both Republicans and Democrats alike. He led efforts to make government more open and transparent, to solve traffic problems, and to preserve open space and the environment.
In 2008, Steve ran for the State House in the Yardley-Newtown area of Bucks County. He won the race, becoming the first Democrat to hold the seat. In Harrisburg he was a reformer, writing the bill that would ultimately get adopted as new House rules on keeping politics and government service separate; refusing perks like per diems and a state car; and not collecting his pay during prolonged budget impasses in 2009 and 2015-16. Steve was also a leader on education, infrastructure investment, environmental protection, women’s health issues and gun violence prevention.
Back home in Bucks County, Steve led the effort to get PECO to improve the resiliency of its electric grid, vastly reducing the number of power outages in the area. He also worked to bring jobs into his district and successfully lobbied the New Jersey Legislature to grandfather current employees when it passed a new law requiring all public sector workers in the Garden State to live in New Jersey, thereby saving the jobs of thousands of Bucks residents who worked across the Delaware.
Steve left the House at the end of his fourth term in late 2016, and was appointed the following year by Attorney General Josh Shapiro to be the first Chief Deputy Attorney General for Environmental Protection in Pennsylvania. In that role, Steve oversaw the prosecution of environmental crimes and led Pennsylvania’s efforts to fight the Trump Administration over proposed rollbacks of important environmental protections.
Steve left the Attorney General’s office in January 2018 to run for the PA Senate here in the 10th District. On November 6, 2018, Steve was elected to the State Senate and was sworn in on January 1, 2019. In the State Senate, Steve serves on the Appropriations, Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure, Environmental Resources & Energy, and Intergovernmental Operations committees and is the Minority Chair of the Judiciary Committee. In this role, Steve co-sponsored Kayden’s Law, a bill, later passed by the State Senate, that protects children involved in custody hearings to ensure the safety of children in Pennsylvania is always considered.
Outside of Harrisburg, Steve makes sure that serving the members of the district is a top priority. Steve has fought to keep a dangerous quarry from reopening in East Rockhill and led a legal battle in Federal Court to maintain a ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin to protect our drinking water from dangerous chemicals. Steve also supported those who were hit hardest by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Steve secured funds for schools to provide students and staff with proper PPE, held regular Telephone Town Halls early on to make sure that people stayed updated on the latest news and resources, and channeled state funds into projects, like the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, bringing new jobs and businesses to the district.
Steve and his wife Ronni have lived in the same house in Lower Makefield for nearly 27 years. They have three children, Nancy, Billy, and Johnny. The newest member of their family is a golden retriever named Theo.
Steve coached youth baseball for 10 years in the Pennsbury Athletic Association. Steve founded One Bucks, a grassroots group of clergy and lay people dedicated to speaking out against acts of hate. Steve and his wife Ronni are active in their synagogue, Congregation Kol Emet in Lower Makefield.
Steve is a graduate of Tufts University where he received his B.A. He received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and his M.Ed. from Holy Family University.