7th District City Council race shapes up as Council President calls for special elections
Quiñones-Sánchez’s recent Council resignation leaves open a seat previously occupied for 14 years. Candidate hopefuls may shape the 7th district’s legacy.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
Local government in Philadelphia is due for a shape-up following resignations from several City Councilmembers, provoking Council President Darrell Clarke to call special elections today, Sep. 9, to find replacements for María Quiñones-Sánchez and Cherelle Parker, from the 7th and 9th districts respectively. In the former, potential candidates will define Quiñones-Sánchez’s legacy.
Pennsylvania House Representative Ángel Cruz, elected in 2001 to state government, told AL DÍA that after years of service to the state, he will not run for reelection, and is prepared to take on local affairs.
“I gave 22 years as Representative, there’s a vacancy in the 7th District and I’m going to give it the opportunity and see if I can become its next Councilmember,” Rep. Cruz said. Prior to becoming an elected state official 20 years ago, Rep. Cruz worked as an aide for former City Councilman Richard Mariano.
Mariano repped the 7th District for 10 years before he was arrested for bribery in 2006, a conviction that lasted six and a half years.
“I believe I’m the best candidate,” noted the state rep. “I’ve put in the work before I was a representative, I did it as a representative,” said Cruz, while adding that his standing puts him ahead of the slate.
“We need a leader with experience who can put in the work. Pointing fingers (...) has to end, and I’ve given [Councilwoman Quiñones-Sánchez] many opportunities and will continue forward,” Cruz said of his longstanding feud with Councilwoman Quiñones-Sánchez, a vocal critic of previous local government officials.
Quiñones-Sánchez, whose tenure spans 14 years in City Council, says her working relationships are solid, with the exception of Cruz, a rocky relationship that has weathered the test of time.
The two don’t share a friendly relationship and have made their opinions known throughout their collaborative and fallout years as government colleagues.
“I take my job very seriously and I don’t have time for people who throw stones. I’m not doing that,” he added.
When asked if he would endorse any mayoral candidates, namely Quiñones-Sánchez, Cruz said he would rather wait it out for more deserving candidates.
From Tattooed Mom, Quiñones-Sánchez talks shop
“As a District Councilperson, I don’t have the luxury of getting into every fight because I have to deliver every day,” Quiñones-Sánchez said of her time in the City, where, she says, she fought for progressive politics before they were popular.
During a virtual meeting with supporters at Tattooed Mom on South Street on the evening of Sep. 8, she confirmed her support for Quetcy Lozada to succeed her in the upcoming elections.
Lozada is currently Vice President of Community Engagement for Esperanza Inc., a faith-based nonprofit organization.
The former City Councilwoman focused her message on unity and said that despite her reputation in Council as an outsider, she’s ready to bring people together to the negotiating table to get legislation done.
“We hope to be able to get a very collective coalition of folks who have worked with us on both sides (...) That is absolutely our intent. We think we can get many people who don’t think they have things in common to a common table,” said Quiñones-Sánchez
Per a new directive set forth by Council President Darrell Clarke, a special election to fill vacancies will be held on Tuesday, November 8th, in tandem with the general election for the unexpired Council terms.
The president did not issue the same directive for former Councilmembers Allan Domb and Derek Green, both at-large reps who tendered their own resignations this month. Neither Rep. Cruz nor Lozada has officially made public statements regarding their bids for Philadelphia City Council.