Italy's First Senator Representing Italian Citizens in US Speaks at MSU, 12/4

The first American citizen elected to the Italian Parliament as senator of a new district representing Italians who live abroad will lecture at Montclair State University on Monday, December 4.

The lecture by Renato “Ron” Turano, presented by the University’s Joseph and Elda Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America, will take place at 1 p.m. in University Hall, Room 1020. Turano’s lecture commemorates the Coccia Institute’s third anniversary.

Attendance is free and the public is invited to attend.

Italian citizens abroad were granted the ability to vote in Italian elections via absentee ballots in 2001.  In May 2006, however, they had the opportunity for the first time to elect their own representatives to the Italian Parliament.

In that election, Italian citizens living in a newly constituted voting district encompassing North and Central America elected Turano as their first senator.   Turano, an Illinois bakery owner, represents approximately 200,000 Italian citizens living in the United States, and an additional 150,000 living in Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

Turano is a dual citizen of the United States and Italy who lives in the Chicago of suburb Burr Ridge.  Born in Calabria, Italy, in 1942, Turano moved to Chicago in the late 1950s with his brothers and parents. His family bought a small baking company in 1962 and built it into one of the largest manufacturers of artisan breads in North America, the Campagna-Turano Baking Co.  Turano serves as company president.  He is also chairman of the American Bakers Association.

For his lecture at Montclair State University, Senator Turano will discuss the long term implications of the new Italian-American electorate, the reasons why the Italian government decided to grant representation to Italians abroad and the history of Italian- American voting in the United States.

The Coccia Institute responds to the growing interest in Italian and Italian-American fields of study, both among scholars and the public at large. The mission of the Institute includes both public outreach and academic components, with a special focus on the historical and contemporary interplay of Italian culture and society with American culture and society.

For additional information, call the Institute at (973) 655-4050 or e-mail the Institute at