Maria Quiñones Sánchez is a veteran activist with over 30 years of service to the City of Philadelphia. Most recently, she represented North Philadelphia’s 7th Council District for the last 14 years, where she is widely regarded as Philadelphia’s most effective leader and legislator.
Maria is a pragmatic progressive – driven by her unwavering passion for helping vulnerable people in need. She has unmatched expertise and wisdom from decades in the trenches of Philadelphia government. She’s known for tackling impossibly complex problems, uniting leaders with opposing views, and getting things done.
Maria moved to Philadelphia from Puerto Rico as a baby. Her mother was a factory worker and her father, a farmworker. She was raised in public housing before moving to Hunting Park.
She attended Jules E. Mastbaum Area Vocational Technical School, Temple University, and earned a Masters of Human Services from Lincoln University. As a journalism major at Temple, Maria covered local elections and published hard-hitting investigative pieces on political corruption in Philadelphia. 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. In the 80s and 90s, Maria held multiple city posts including Deputy Commissioner of Elections and Legislative Assistant in City Council. She got her start in city government working for City Councilmember Marian B. Tasco.
Growing up in North Philly, Maria began her life’s work of empowering her neighbors and fighting for grassroots social change. In 2007, she made history as the first Puerto Rican woman elected to City Council and defeated the local political bosses. Known for her hard work, tenacity and commitment to reform, she represents a cost-burdened district in the poorest big city in America. She ran to fight for economic justice and to keep families in their homes by making historic changes in city government. She champions good government reforms, transparency and accountability. Maria serves as Chair of Council’s Committee on Appropriations and Committee on Education. She co-chairs Council’s Special Committee on Poverty reduction and Prevention, and in 2021, was appointed to the Philadelphia Tax Reform Working Group. Her impact as a leader and legislator touch every facet of the city’s operations from budget planning and tax reform, to land use innovation and park creation.
Maria lives in Norris Square in North Philadelphia with her husband, Tomas. They have two sons, Edgar and Tomasito, and are grandparents to Jace Antonio, Romeo Esteban and Mari Mar.