Meet Ryan Bizzarro: Legislator, Advocate, and Fighter for the People

Rep. Ryan Bizzarro is an award-winning legislator, sworn in on Jan. 1, 2013, to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He proudly represents the 3rd Legislative District in Erie County.

A lifelong Erie County resident, Bizzarro developed a strong work ethic at a young age while serving at his grandfather’s restaurant, The Ringside. He also learned early on how to be a fighter, surviving childhood leukemia.

After receiving his master’s degree, Bizzarro embarked on a career of public service, working for Erie County as a victim/witness coordinator and advocate for the Office of the Erie County District Attorney and the Crime Victim Center. His decision to run for the legislature – and his efforts since being elected – are natural outgrowths of his strong determination to serve the people of Erie.

Bizzarro is passionate about animal rights and authored Libre’s Law – the state’s landmark animal cruelty legislation that ensures that animal abusers face tougher punishments. In 2017 – the year Libre’s Law was signed into effect – Bizzarro was named National Legislator of the Year by the Humane Society of the United States (2016).

He is a staunch advocate for veterans’ rights and treatment courts, and recently introduced legislation that would expand veteran and service member treatment courts statewide.

He has also introduced legislation that would:

  • protect seniors’ health and well-being;
  • expand community paramedicine to improve the health of Pennsylvanians while also relieving burdened emergency rooms;
  • make voting easier and more inclusive through same-day voter registration; and
  • establish the Pennsylvania First-Time Homebuyers Savings Account, allowing first-time homebuyers to claim a state tax deduction for certain savings.

Bizzarro was appointed chief deputy House whip, and he serves as vice chairman of the Northwest Delegation. He also serves as vice chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee; Democratic secretary of the House Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee; and as a member of the House Consumer Affairs, Insurance and Judiciary committees as well as the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts. 

Alongside his committee assignments, Bizzarro has also been appointed to the Climate Change Advisory Committee, which is tasked to establish and review Pennsylvania’s official action plan to combat climate change.  He also sits on the Pennsylvania Grade Crude Development Advisory Council, examining existing technical regulations and policies for the oil and gas industry.

Bizzarro has been recognized for his service by several groups and organizations locally and nationally.  Awards include the Erie Reader 40 Under 40 (2013), Edinboro University’s Honored Alumnus of the Year (2014), Humane Society Legislator of the Year (2016), Pennsylvania Snowmobile Association Legislator of the Year (2018), and Best of Erie’s Best Politician in the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 (the category was removed in 2018).

As a legislator, Bizzarro has earned respect from Democrats and Republicans alike for his ability to come to the table and work across party lines to get the job done. He is known for his strong leadership, forward-thinking strategies, detailed execution and practice of putting people first before politics. His efforts to promote public-private partnerships and a strong dedication to protecting government budgets from fraud and waste have guided many of Bizzarro’s bills in the Pennsylvania House. In his first term, Bizzarro sponsored legislation, which later became law, that created a successful public-private partnership, allowing third parties to partner with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation to administer driver’s license examinations and services throughout the Commonwealth.

Bizzarro graduated from Edinboro University with degrees in political science and criminal justice, and from Gannon University with a master’s degree in public administration. In addition to his work in criminal justice, he has served as a behavioral health specialist at Erie’s Public Schools, and has worked in business development for the Erie County Convention Center Authority.