Contact: Arthur Gajarsa, Chair


The Italian American Democratic Leadership Council (IADLC), the national voice of Italian Americans in the Democratic Party, announced their endorsement of Steve Santarsiero for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District. 

"Steve Santarsiero epitomizes all the values of the Italian American community," says IADLC Chair Arthur Gajarsa. "We are proud to endorse a candidate who exemplifies the best opportunities to develop policies which best serve the people of Pennsylvania. Moreover, he has the drive and the passion to provide the electorate with the results which best establish the goals to serve the people of the district." 

Steven J. "SteveSantarsiero is a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He has represented the 31st District since 2009 and is currently serving his 4th term in office. 

Italian Family History 

The Santarsieros came from a small village near Avelino in Campania. In about 1902, Steve’s grandfather, V. WilliamSantarsiero, then a young boy, came through Ellis Island with his father, Tomaso. They settled in Camden, New Jersey, where eventually they were joined by the rest of their family. Later they moved to Newark, New Jersey, where by the 1930s Tomaso owned and operated a general store. William, or Bill, as he was called, became an electrician. 

Steve’s paternal grandmother was born Julia Mattia in Newark, New Jersey in 1900. The Mattia family had begun arriving in the United States in the 1870s. They also were from Campania. By 1880 her grandfather owned and operated a boarding house where other Italian immigrants stayed soon after arriving and while they tried to find jobs and permanent places to live. 

Julia's father, Richard, was born in Italy but arrived in the United States with his mother at the age of 3. In 1880, at the age of 7 he helped the local Garfield campaign in Newark, translating English into Italian. His interest in politics continued. In 1908 Richard became the first Italian American to be elected a County Freeholder in the State of New Jersey (in Essex County). He held the position for 12 years, helping to enact a number of progressive reforms. A life-long Republican, he was a product of the progressive era. He later began a family printing business. 

Steve’s father, Thomas J. Santarsiero, is the only member of his family who became a Democrat. His experiences during the Depression and as a soldier in World War II cemented his support of FDR, Harry Truman, and the Democratic Party. His father, William, while an ardent Republican until his death in 1970, was the godfather to the late Congressman Peter Rodino and did admit that he might have voted for "that Irishman" for president in 1960. 

Steve is a proud Italian-American and a life-long Democrat. 

Santarsieros for Congress 

Steve Santarsiero is a proven, progressive leader with a track record of getting results for the people of Pennsylvania,” said Campaign Manager Eric Goldman. “As a state representative, Steve has led the charge to enact universal background checks on gun purchases, has earned a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood, and has stood up against fracking and climate change.” 

Rep. Santarsiero has received several high-profile endorsements, including Gov. Tom Wolf, the Bucks and Montgomery County Democratic Parties, and has received the overwhelming support of over 20 organized labor unions. 

About the Italian American Democratic Leadership Council 

For over twenty years, the Italian American Democratic Leadership Council has been the national voice of Italian Americans in the Democratic Party -- the national political action committee supporting candidates for Congress and major statewide offices, reaching out to Italian American voters for their presidential candidates, and promoting the appointment of Italian Americans at the national level. To learn more about the IADLC, visit