Senator Sharif Street, elected to the Pennsylvania Senate in 2016, represents the Third Senatorial District of Philadelphia, which encompasses a population of over 240,000 people in North Philadelphia, Nicetown, Roxborough, Lower Germantown, Logan, Olney, Fern Rock, Crescentville, East Oak Lane, East Wyoming, East Hunting Park and Melrose Park Garden.
An attorney by profession, Sharif began his public career as a community activist organizing a Town Watch group while in law school. He graduated cum laude from Morehouse College with a B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and the University of Pennsylvania Carey School of Law, where he served as president of the Penn Law Democrats. He is currently a member of the American, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and National Bar Associations, as well as a member of the Philadelphia Barristers Association, for which he served as a board member in 2002.
Before being elected Senator, Sharif worked as a staffer for the Pennsylvania Senate, serving as the Chief Legislative Advisor to the Democratic Chair of the Housing and Urban Development Committee and had the primary responsibility for overseeing legislative, housing, environmental and economic development initiatives. During this time, he facilitated the creation of Philadelphia Green Communities, the first environmental educational program of its kind implemented in a major U.S. city. Sharif helped to found and served on the Board of Directors of Urban Solutions, a non-profit corporation created to address the health needs of traditionally under-served communities.
Since being elected, Sharif has become one of the few Senators in Pennsylvania to chair two committees simultaneously, currently serving as the Democratic Chair of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee and the Senate State Government Committee. Sharif also serves as a member of the Senate Appropriations, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and Local Government committees. He is a co-chair of the bipartisan and bicameral Crime Prevention Caucus, co-chair of the University of Pennsylvania caucus, member of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission and served previously as Democratic Chair of the Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform.
As Senator, Sharif has dedicated himself to issues that make the lives of Pennsylvanians better. He was instrumental in the creation of PENNIE, Pennsylvania’s state-based health insurance exchange, and created the Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program in the 2019-2020 state budget. Sharif has written and introduced legislation to combat climate change, reform Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system, and is the main co-sponsor of Pennsylvania’s first bipartisan bill to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis.
A known advocate of affordable housing and community development, Sharif has a depth of knowledge and experience in dealing with eminent domain acquisition, low-income housing, women and minority issues, and disadvantaged business certifications. He has served on the Council for HOPE VI, has been a featured presenter at the National Public Housing Resident Empowerment Conference, and has served as managing director of the Housing Association of Delaware Valley.
Additionally, Sharif has served on the board of the North Central Philadelphia Empowerment Zone’s Housing Trust Fund and was a member of the North-Central Empowerment Zone’s Community Advisory Committees for Housing, Crime and Public Safety, and Economic Development. He has served as a board member of the Columbia North YMCA and is a current member of the Philadelphia’s African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs Commission.
In 2018, Sharif was elected Vice-Chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party where he helped oversee the Democratic victories in the 2018 midterms and the election of President Biden in 2020. In 2022, Sharif made history when he was elected the first Black chairperson of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party during Juneteenth weekend.
Sharif is a father of five children and lives in North Philadelphia with his wife, April.
Updated August 2022