In November of 2011, Maria defied all odds with an overwhelming second term victory with broad based grassroots support from her district. She is now serving a second four year term. Maria was an effective freshmen legislator. In the November 2009 Philadelphia Magazine, Councilwoman Sánchez was named one of Philadelphia’s Most Influential 50 with her freshman colleagues, a prestigious list lead by Governor Ed Rendell, after being named in 2008 as the “Best of Philly” new Councilperson and one of the future women leaders to “watch” by the Philadelphia Daily News. Councilwoman Sanchez is a rising star within political circles for her hard work and commitment to government reform and socio-economic development of her district.
Maria was the lead sponsor in historic business tax reform legislation. This reform will lead to an almost 50% tax deduction for small businesses and make Philadelphia’s manufacturing industry competitive again in the global economy. She helped declare “Philadelphia’s open to business.” This effort will lead to the retention of thousands of jobs and the creation of many more in districts like hers.
In her new term, Maria will focus on vacant land and long term housing development for the city. She serves on the Housing Trust Fund, the Mayor’s Facilities Taskforce and the Mayor’s Vacant Land Task Force. In collaboration with the Mayor’s administration and her City Council colleagues she will lead the discussion on how Philadelphia’s building and land assets will help stabilize and rebuild Philadelphia for the next century.
Making history in November 2007 with nearly 80% of the vote, with tremendous grassroots and community support, Maria became the first Puerto Rican/Latino elected to a district City Council seat and the first Latina to serve on the Philadelphia City Council.
In City Council, Councilwoman Sanchez serves as Chair of the Committee of Licenses and Inspections, Vice Chair of the Streets and Services, Public Health and Human services and also serves on Appropriations; Labor and Civil Service; Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs; Commerce and Economic Development; Education; Housing, Neighborhood Development and the Homeless and the Disabled and the Handicapped.
Maria is a veteran activist with over 25 years of service to the City of Philadelphia, its constituents and neighborhoods, the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and beyond. She has advocated tirelessly for economic development, women’s and workers’ rights, family wages, voter registration, health care availability and other issues of importance to Philadelphia and Commonwealth residents and communities.
Prior to serving on City Council, María D. Quiñones-Sánchez served as the Regional Director for the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA), serving Pennsylvania and Delaware. At PRFAA, Maria mounted a historic, seven-city voter registration and Get-Out-the-Vote (GOTV) campaign registering over 32,000 new voters and produced an estimated increase of 35% of the Latino turnout in the campaign’s targeted areas.
Maria is a founding member of the Pennsylvania Statewide Latino Coalition and served as its first Co-Chair of the Board of Directors. From June 1996 to June 2000 she served as the first female and youngest Executive Director of ASPIRA, the largest Latino educational institution in Pennsylvania. Her accomplishments include the creation of the first bilingual charter school in Pennsylvania(Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community Charter School), and the development of a multi-million dollar school and administrative office building in her neighborhood of Hunting Park.
From 1988-1996, she served in several city government positions including Deputy Commissioner of Elections and Legislative Assistant in City Council. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Women’s Campaign Fund, a statewide political action committee working to elect progressive women to the State Legislature.
She is married to Tomas Sanchez, JD and they have two sons, Edgar and Tomasito. She is also a grandmother to Jace Antonio. Having grown up in the Hunting Park section of the city, she now resides in the eastern North Philadelphia neighborhood of Norris Square. She proudly represents both neighborhoods.