Senator Larry Farnese was elected to the Pennsylvania state Senate in 2008 and reelected in 2012 to represent the First Senatorial District. The District, which comprises some of Philadelphia’s most unique and vibrant neighborhoods, spans from Port Richmond on the Delaware River to Fairmount Park on the Schuylkill River and includes South Philadelphia, Center City, Fairmont, the Navy Yard, and Philadelphia’s International Airport and sports complexes.


Senator Farnese is a champion for city and state economic development. In addition to securing capital funding for many commercial and cultural institutions, he is an advocate for Delaware River dredging and the expansion of Philadelphia’s ports; in addition to related job training and tax incentives. He recently secured $14,000,000 in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Grants to create jobs, economic development, green energy solutions and improve tourism in the City; hosts an annual business and transportation forum; and successfully led the fight to defeat proposed taxes on the arts and professional services.

Understanding that economic growth also requires confidence in government, Farnese sponsored bi-partisan legislation in 2013 to enact campaign finance contribution limits. In 2012, the Senator called on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to expand public input for the proposed second Philadelphia casino. And in 2009, he drafted the state provisions that ended the DROP program for future elected officials statewide.

Farnese is seen as one of the State’s most passionate public safety advocates because quality of life is crucial to the long-term success of the neighborhood. He has worked to reduce gun violence, ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, close the Florida Loophole, increase the penalty for illegally carrying a concealed weapon, and combat the straw purchases of illegal handguns. In his first term, he also obtained funding to restore the Philadelphia Police Mounted Unit and worked closely with local officials and community leaders to improve the oversight of neighborhood nuisance bars.

As a representative of one of the Commonwealth’s most diverse LGBT communities, the Senator is a passionate, outspoken supporter of equality and anti-discrimination legislation for all Pennsylvanians. In addition to being a member of the state’s LGBT Caucus, he has sponsored and co-sponsored a number of pro-equality bills that would end bullying in schools and in our neighborhoods; prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and accommodations because of a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression; expand the state’s hate crime laws; and exempt couples in domestic partnerships from paying inheritance taxes on the transfer of property after the death of one of the partners.

The Senator is presently of counsel at Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy, P.C. He was elected in 2014 to serve as the Senate Democratic Caucus’ Secretary, is the Democratic Chair of the Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee and is a member of the Banking and Insurance, Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, Judiciary, Rules and Executive Nominations, and Transportation Committees. He also holds a membership position with the Pennsylvania Housing Advisory Committee and serves on the boards of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, the Public School Employees Retirement System and Casa Farnese, the first affordable senior housing complex in Philadelphia that was founded in 1966 by Senator Farnese’s grandfather.

Farnese earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Villanova University and graduated from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law in 1994. In 2013, Senator Farnese was chosen as the Italian Museum of Philadelphia’s Italian-American of the Year and has become widely recognized as a defender of neighborhood associations thanks to his legislation protecting them against frivolous lawsuits. The Senator currently lives in Center City Philadelphia.

Updated January 2016