Born and raised in Glenside, Pennsylvania, to Bob and Mary Dean, Madeleine got her start in politics around the dinner table with her five older brothers and one older sister. She was graduated from Abington High School, and at age 18 won election to serve as a local committee-person.
Madeleine completed her undergraduate studies at La Salle University in Philadelphia, and earned her law degree at Delaware Law School of Widener University. She returned home, practicing law in a small Philadelphia firm and with the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association and eventually serving as executive director. Madeleine then opened a small, three-woman law practice in Glenside.
While she and her husband PJ were raising three young sons, Madeleine changed careers. From 2001 until 2011 she was a member of the English Department at LaSalle University — teaching composition, persuasive writing and rhetoric, business writing, legal writing, and ethics. She also contributed to The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Daily News, The Patriot-News, and other publications.
With her children grown, Madeleine took the chance to enter public service — something she had long wanted — after studying politics and public service at Penn’s Fels School of Government. In 2011, Madeleine ran for and served as Abington Township commissioner, before winning a special election to the Pennsylvania State House in 2012.
During her six-and-a-half years in Harrisburg, Madeleine was an outspoken champion of public education, healthcare access, environmental protection, equal rights, ethics, criminal justice reform, combating addiction, and ending gun violence. Following the Sandy Hook shooting, Madeleine founded and served as Co-Chair of the PA-SAFE Caucus — an active coalition of legislators and advocates dedicated to ending gun violence.
Throughout her career in the Legislature, Madeleine also worked closely with local officials to bring home millions of dollars in infrastructure projects that promote safer, greener, more livable communities. And with her extraordinary coworkers, her office served tens of thousands of constituents with problems big and small.
In 2015, Governor Tom Wolf appointed Madeleine to the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, advising the Governor on policies and legislation to improve the lives of women and their families.
Madeleine’s concern for equality — and a broader desire to expand her public service — eventually inspired her run for Congress. In 2018, Pennsylvania had 18 Congressional seats — and 0 women. Along with a cadre of other women from across the state, Madeleine set out to change that. She ran for the Fourth Congressional District seat and won.
In Congress, Madeleine remains focused on decency and the common good. That means working hard to address issues that affect Americans deeply — including stopping gun violence and guaranteeing health care for all. In Madeleine’s view, building a more compassionate society means making smart, humane policy choices. It also means working to ensure that government functions smoothly and delivers the services constituents need.
Madeleine 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. She and her husband PJ Cunnane live in Jenkintown, Abington Township, and have three grown sons – Patrick, Harry and Alex; two daughters-in-law – Stephanie and Juliet; and two granddaughters and one grandson – Aubrey, Ella, and Sawyer.