Born and raised in Glenside, Pennsylvania, to Bob and Mary Dean, Madeleine Dean got her start in politics around the dinner table with her five brothers, and thankfully, one sister. Discussions at the Dean house were never dull: debating politics and being quizzed on current events with the entire family. Madeleine graduated from Abington High School – and at age 18 she was elected to serve as a local committee-person.
At 19, Madeleine volunteered on her first campaign for Joe Hoeffel’s re-election to the state legislature — a seat she holds currently. While on the campaign trail, she met her future husband, PJ Cunnane, who was also serving as a committee-person.
Madeleine graduated from La Salle University, and earned her law degree at Widener University. Madeleine returned home and practiced law with the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers and went on to serve as the executive director. Mad then opened a small, three-woman law practice in Glenside, and served as in-house counsel for her husband’s growing bicycle business.
While she and PJ were raising three young sons, Mad changed career paths to serve as an assistant professor in the English Department at La Salle University for more than 10 years. In this role, she taught composition, persuasive writing and rhetoric, business writing, legal writing and ethics. She continues to write and is a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, Patriot News and other publications.
Madeleine spent decades volunteering in the political world, but with her children grown, Madeleine became a public servant herself. She served as a local township commissioner and soon after, was elected to be a state representative in 2012.
Madeleine found her calling in public service. Since elected to the State House, Madeleine has been an outspoken member, championing progressive priorities like public education, combating addiction, equal rights, access to healthcare, ethics, criminal justice reform, and gun violence. Issues that matter to those too often ignored. Madeleine has been dedicated to reducing gun violence and the problem of illegal guns. Traveling with her husband and three young sons to the “Million Mom March” in 2001.
Following the shooting at Sandy Hook, Madeleine founded and served as Co-Chair of the PA SAFE caucus. The group is an active coalition of legislators and advocates dedicated to passing legislation to end gun violence.
In a legislature comprised of only 19% women, Mad was appointed to the Governor’s Pennsylvania Commission for Women. The commission was designed to advise the governor on policies and legislation that promote equality and health.
Back home, Madeleine has worked closely with local officials to bring millions of dollars in infrastructure projects that promote safer, more livable, and greener communities to the area she represents.
She is a lifelong parishioner of St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Glenside and has served as a board member for the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Madeleine and her husband PJ Cunnane live in Jenkintown, Abington Township, and have three grown sons – Patrick, Harry and Alex – a daughter-in-law, Stephanie, future daughter-in-law Juliet, and one adorable 6-year-old granddaughter, Aubrey.