Councilwoman Maria D. Quiñones Sánchez is a veteran activist with over 30 years of service to the City of Philadelphia, currently serving her third four-year term representing eastern North Philadelphia’s 7th Council District. She made history in November 2007 when she rallied grassroots support becoming the first Latina elected to City Council, and quickly became a rising star for her hard work and commitment to government reform.
Her legislative accomplishments include the “Freshman 15” good government reforms, the creation of the Philadelphia Land Bank, tax foreclosure reform, AVI assistance for vulnerable homeowners, a Longtime Owner-Occupant Program (LOOP), a property tax deferral program, landmark water affordability legislation, and securing $100 million in new funding for affordable housing as part of her progressive agenda to “Keep People in their Homes.”
A champion for Philadelphia’s small businesses and manufacturers, Maria authored historic business tax reform drastically reducing the tax burden on small businesses and helping local manufacturing compete globally. She also expanded tax benefits for benefit corporations, which contribute to their communities and create family-sustaining jobs.
Representing Kensington, one of neighborhoods hardest hit by the opioid crisis, Maria has led the charge for behavioral health reforms, opening and expanding access to treatment, and investing in improved public safety and quality of life for long-term residents.
Her success advancing a bold, progressive agenda have been widely recognized, as she was named one of Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best of Philly” in 2008, one of the “50 Most Influential” (PhillyMag, 2009), and “#23 in the 100 Most Influential” (PhillyMag, 2017). Maria has also been recognized as one of the City’s future women leaders to watch by the Philadelphia Daily News and one of Philadelphia Business Journal’s “Power 100.”
Leadership and Committee Assignments
- Chair: Appropriations and Licenses & Inspections
- Vice Chair: Streets & Services and Public Health & Human Services
- Member: Rules; Education; Children & Youth; Labor & Civil Service; Housing, Neighborhood Development, & the Homeless; Parks, Recreation, & Cultural Affairs; Ethics; Fiscal Stability & Intergovernmental Cooperation
Prior to serving on City Council, Maria served as the Regional Director for the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA). She was a founding member and first Board Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania Statewide Latino Coalition. Maria also served as the first female and youngest Executive Director of ASPIRA, Pennsylvania’s largest Latino educational institution, where she created of Pennsylvania’s first bilingual charter school and developed a multi-million-dollar school and administrative office building in Hunting Park. From 1988 through 1996, Maria served in several city government positions including Deputy Commissioner of Elections and Legislative Assistant in City Council.
Maria grew up in Hunting Park and now resides in Norris Square with her husband, Tomás Sánchez, JD. Maria and Tomas have two sons, Edgar and Tomasito, and are grandparents to Jace Antonio and Romeo Esteban.