For the last 14 years, Maria Quiñones-Sánchez has represented Philadelphia’s 7th district on the city council. As the first Puerto Rican woman elected, she has focused on finding solutions to economic justice, keeping families in their homes, and prioritizing land use innovation. In September, she was one of the first Democratic candidates to step down from City Council and announce her bid for Mayor of Philadelphia.
Since moving to Philadelphia from Puerto Rico at six months old, Quiñones-Sánchez has been deeply involved in the city. Her website confirms that “before City Council, Maria was the Executive Director of ASPIRA, Pennsylvania’s largest Latino educational institution where she created PA’s first bilingual charter school and its multi-million-dollar school and administrative campus in Hunting Park.” She also studied Journalism at Temple, reporting on political happenings within the city.
She also created the Philadelphia Land Bank, a “full-service community development organization” meant to help develop new housing in the city. The bank created controversy in 2013 when it was revealed the organization allowed political insiders to underpay for land, a form of cronyism. This led to Quiñones-Sánchez adding government transparency as an issue for her campaign, which is still a large part of what she is running on now.
As a City Council member, Quiñones-Sánchez has made housing a priority. She has pushed for affordable housing for every Philadelphian, expanding the Mixed Income Housing Bonus multiple times, which incentivizes private developers to create affordable units. Focusing on labor rights, Quiñones-Sánchez worked to raise the minimum wage to $15 in Philadelphia, she also supported the Fair Workweek bill, and protected essential workers during the pandemic. Early during the pandemic, she paid attention to small businesses, successfully advocating for $20 million in small business relief.
Quiñones-Sánchez has a vision for Philadelphia. In terms of public safety, she wants better policing, saying, “As Philadelphia’s Accountability Mayor, I will make sure that every city leader and every city department is working to make Philadelphia safer. When our only answer is for police to show up after a crime, that means government has failed. My comprehensive public safety strategy reimagines the role of all government departments, while transforming the police and criminal legal system. With training, equipment, and innovation, all city workers will contribute to our public safety mission.” She sees a Philadelphia with “Safe and Clean Neighborhoods”, citing inspiration from London’s CCTV system and other global safety practices.
Quiñones-Sánchez wants to focus on investing in students. She sees this as creating “safe, welcoming neighborhood schools” and making sure every student has diverse high school options, as well as creating policies like “free CCP for all” and an “expanded meal service”. The former city-council member approaches this with not only the experience of attending Philadelphia public school, but also by founding a charter school and being the chair of the City Council’s education committee.
Creating an affordable and equitable Philadelphia is next on her vision plan. Quiñones-Sánchez shares this plan on her website, saying, “Philadelphia can do more, and as Mayor I will propose a new model for affordable development.” She has plans to reduce and prevent poverty by promoting outreach to everyone who may qualify for benefits. To create an equitable Philadelphia by 2023 Quiñones-Sánchez plans to give every neighborhood “affordable housing, access to transit, good schools, and family-sustaining jobs.” Much of her mayoral campaign works off of bills and legislation she has passed as a city council member.
Maria Quiñones-Sánchez is dedicated to Philadelphia and plans to work on improving safety, education, and making the city more affordable and equitable by 2023. If elected, she would be the first woman of color and first female mayor of Philadelphia. She is up against other Democrats like Jeff Brown and Helen Gym during the primaries on May 16th, 2023.
To learn more about Maria Quiñones-Sánchez’s campaign go to: https://mariaforphilly.com/
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