Member Biography

James "Jim" Ferlo 

Sessions Office Position District Party
2003       38 Democrat
2004       38 Democrat
2005       38 Democrat
2006       38 Democrat
2007       38 Democrat
2008       38 Democrat
2009       38 Democrat
2010       38 Democrat
2011       38 Democrat
2012       38 Democrat
2013       38 Democrat
2014       38 Democrat


06/19/1951 - 05/15/2022

James “Jim” Ferlo (D38) Allegheny (Part) Armstrong (Part) and Westmoreland (Part) Counties 2003-2015

Early Life: 

James “Jim” Ferlo, born June 19, 1951, Rome, Oneida County, New York; son of Thomas Henry and Isabella Ferlo; member, 7th District, Pittsburgh City Council, 1988-2003; president, Pittsburgh City Council, 1994-1998; elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 2003-2015; Board of Directors, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Pennsylvania, 2015-2021; died, May, 15, 2022 (aged 70); interment, Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. 

Early Career: 

Member, 7th District, Pittsburgh City Council, 1988-2003; president, Pittsburgh City Council, 1994-1998.

Professional titles; business ownership; board memberships; local government; club memberships.

American Public Gardens Association, Allegheny Cemetery & Allegheny-Kiski Valley Historical Society, Allegheny-Kiski Coalition, Strongland/Allegheny Valley Chamber of Commerce, American Public  Health Association, Casino Theatre Renovation Foundation, Coalition to Counter Hate Crimes, Firearms Owners Against Crime, Highland Park Community Club, Hyde Park Museum Historical Rm., Lawrenceville United, Lawrenceville Moose #581, Preserve Pittsburgh, Roaring Run Watershed, Sierra Club, Sons of Italy, Victorian Vandergrift Museum & Historical Society; life member: NAACP; cochair: Pittsburgh Green Government Task Force; board member: Port of Pittsburgh Committee, Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Committee; vice-president: Pittsburgh Green Innovators; treasurer: Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh; awards: Coalition of Veterans Advocates, Preserve. Pittsburgh, Allegheny County Safe Kids Coalition, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Pittsburgh Community Service, Pennsylvania Legal Service; Board of Directors, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Pennsylvania, 2015-2021.

Pennsylvania Politics: 

Elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate 38th district, Allegheny (Part) Armstrong (Part) and Westmoreland (Part) Counties, 2003-2015; committee assignments, Appropriations, Minority Vice Chair, Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, Environmental Resources and Energy, Law and Justice (Minority Chairman).


At a press conference in 2014, Senator announced he was gay, in conjunction with legislative sponsorship of increasing protections for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) individuals, under anti-hate laws in Pennsylvania. Becoming the first openly gay member of the State Senate (ii)


The Pennsylvania Manual, (2013-2014). Phillips, S., (Editor). (Volume 121). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; pages 3-35, 3-40. Biographies of Members of the Senate, page 3-17.

Pa. Senator Jim Ferlo comes out during press conference on LGBT hate crimes - WHYY

Jim Ferlo, former Pittsburgh councilman and state senator who served parts of Western Pa., dies at 70 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

James Ferlo Obituary (2022) - Pittsburgh, PA - Tribune Review (

James Ferlo (1951-2022) - Find a Grave Memorial