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Lawmaker leaves wheelchair for walk on Senate floor - abc27 WHTM

Lawmaker leaves wheelchair for walk on Senate floor

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It's not often that Republicans and Democrats side with each other at the state Capitol, but both parties on Tuesday were equally supportive of a Philadelphia senator who took a stand.

Sen. Christine Tartaglione, who has been partially paralyzed since 2003, read a statement from her wheelchair before using a walker and making a slow half-circle around the chamber to her chair.

"I had to take a deep breath and say 'oh God, thank you," Tartaglione said later. "I looked up to my dad. It was for him."

Tartaglione's father passed away before he could see her walk again. Her spine was crushed in a Labor Day boating accident.

"A big boat with some wild kids came and skimmed the side of the boat," she said. "I was on the front of the boat. When the wake came I went up in the air and I crushed my spine."

It took months before Tartaglione made it back to the Capitol. She underwent intense physical therapy to regain movement and control. A few years ago, she made her first attempt to walk onto the floor.

"She walked in and it was pretty obvious that she was not ready," former Sen. Robert Jubelirer said. "Your heart just reached out for her. I don't think there was a dry eye in the place."

Her second attempt brought a standing ovation and cheers from her colleagues.

"There was no question it was bi-partisan," Sen. Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, said. "All the folks who were there, Democrat and Republican, giving her a standing ovation. Awesome."

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