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T. Milton Street, former State Senator. Photo Credit: Kyle Cassidy.
T. Milton Street, former State Senator. Photo Credit: Kyle Cassidy.

Milton Street, former Pennsylvania State Senator and brother of John F. Street, dies at 81

He was known as a notable community leader and activist before entering into the political sphere.

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Thomas Milton Street Sr., a former Pennsylvania State Senator, has died at the age of 81.

His nephew, Senator Sharif Street, confirmed the news in a Facebook post earlier this morning. 

"It is with sadness that we announce the passing of former Senator T. Milton Street Sr., activist, legislator, and politician," he wrote.

Street was the older brother of former Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street, known as a dedicated activist for fighting poverty and homelessness in Philadelphia. 

Born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Street began his work as a youth leader in the Ebenezer SDA Church, which led to his passion for the community and the people of Philadelphia. 

“He fought to break down barriers and visualized ways government could work for everyday folks by enacting change through policy regardless of political affiliation,” his nephew wrote. 

This led to Street’s entry into politics.

In 1978, he was elected to the 181st District of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and two years later was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate. Starting out as a Democrat, he’d later switch to the Republican Party shortly after being elected to the State Senate. 

Street then unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Republican in 1982, and as a Democrat in 1984. 

“As a legislator his public policies were decades before their time. He advocated for socio-economic causes including gaming, funding seniors through the lottery, the legalization of cannabis as a method of providing public education. He remained a fighter for the poor until and dreamed of ending the violence which plagues our city,” said his nephew.    

During the 1990s, Street also had a number of business ventures.

After news of his death broke, PA House Democrats wrote: “After his time in the state Senate, he built his businesses, working tirelessly and serving as a pillar in the community. He made himself available as a mentor and as a friend to many.”

After his brother was elected Mayor in 1999 — and went on to serve two terms — Street tried his hand at returning to the political scene. He entered the mayoral race, unsuccessfully running in 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019. 

Street also ran for City Council in 2007 and the State House in 2018. His final campaign attempt was in 2020, while he was serving as a Republic ward leader with plans to run as an independent. 

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