Luis Quintana was elected to his first term as Newark Councilman at Large in June 1994. He officially assumed his Municipal Council seat on July 1, l994. He was the first Hispanic to be elected to the position of Councilman at Large in the City of Newark. The First Hispanic of Puerto Rican Ethnicity to be appointed as City Council President and the First Hispanic to become Mayor of the City of Newark.
He was re-elected to his eighth term as Councilman at Large on May 10, 2022. He served the City of Newark as Councilman at Large for 28 years.
From 2006 to 2010, Councilman Quintana served as Council Vice President making him the first Council Member to be named Vice President of the Newark Municipal Council. On Wednesday, September 18, 2013, he was elected by the Members of the Council to represent the citizens of Newark as the City Council President, making him the First Hispanic of Puerto Rican ethnicity to sit as President of the City Council of the City of Newark. On October 31, 2013, he was elected by the City Council Members to serve as Interim Mayor serving as Mayor of the City of Newark, New Jersey from October 31, 2013 to July 1, 2014. He served the citizens of Newark as Councilman at Large, Council Vice President, Council President and Interim Mayor.
Councilman Quintana was born in Añasco, Puerto Rico on January 29, 1960 and in l967, at the age of seven, he moved with his family to Newark. Challenged by his new environment, the young Quintana, who was neither, able to speak nor understand the English language, was determined to learn and achieve his goals. He attended Our Lady of Good Council Grammar School, and in 1979 he graduated from Barringer High School and was named “Outstanding Youth of the Year by ASPIRA, Inc., and during his High School Years he was actively involved with the Upward Bound Program and numerous other community activities. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from Seton Hall University in l983.
After his graduation, motivated by his concern that all Newark children receive a decent education regardless of race, creed or color, Mr. Quintana became a Youth Counselor at the North Ward in Newark, in 1983.
Actively involved in his community, Mr. Quintana became a Democratic County Committee Member in 1981 and in 1985 he became the Deputy Mayor for the City of Newark. He served as Deputy Mayor from 1986 to 1994 and in June of 1994 he was sworn in as the First Hispanic to be elected Councilman at Large in the City of Newark.
In November of 1990, he was appointed to the Board of the Essex County Vocational Schools, and the Board of Trustees of the United Way. He is an elected Member of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund since l997, member of the Black & Latino Coalitions of Black & Hispanic Clergy’s since it was created in 1993.
He became a Member of HELO (Hispanic Elected and Local Officials) in 1994, He became an Elected Member to the Board of Directors of (HELO), Hispanic Elected Local Officials on December of 1997and he served as an Elected President of the Board from 2002 to 2003 thus becoming the first Hispanic of Puerto Rican ethnicity and from the Northeaster part of the United States to be elected President. He is a Member of the Sister Cities International since 1994. In 1998, Councilman Quintana was selected to be part of The New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education where he visited The Camps in Berlin, Prague, Poland, and Amsterdam and also visited Israel before returning to Newark. He was elected to the Board of the National League of Cities in 1999', Elected to Board of Sister International in June 2000', - and in 2005 he was appointed Vice Chair of the Advisory Council to the National League of Cities were he continues to serve. Was nominated to the Board of Directors of the Democratic Municipal Officials on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 during the Blue Breakfast of the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference in Washington, DC.
Appointed to the Salvation Army Board in 2013. He is the Chairman of a non Profit Association geared to assist Children and Senior. This nonprofit association was created by Quintana 30 years ago, the name is: The Newark Three Kings Celebration, Inc., and with his help the association has 3 major events to support children’s activities thru the year, he also helps many other children’s association in the City of Newark and the State of New Jersey.
Councilman Quintana has received numerous Awards thru his many years in Government. He received the following outstanding awards: “The Anasco, Puerto Rico, Saint Anthony Festival of January 17, 2014 was dedicated to Mayor Luis Quintana”, “The Mayoral Recognition 2014 from Mayor Wilda Diaz, Mayor of Perth Amboy, NJ” “Men of Valor Award”, New Jersey State League of Municipalities acknowledgement award as an Ex-Official, presented on December 3, 2013, from the Re-Direct/Youth & Family Services, the “Legislative Award” from the District 1199J, the “2008 Senator Weinberg Icon Ally Award”, “The Ambassador for Peace Award from the Interreligious & International Federation for World Peace in December 11, 2004, he also received the “Honorary name of Commander of the Puerto Rico State Police in 2004”. The distinguished Man of the Year Award by the Newspaper “La Tribuna in 2001" and a “Congressional Recognition Award for Man of the Year Award at La Tribuna Newspaper in 2001", “The Person of the Year Award” from the Newark’s Fire Fighters Union, “Man of the Year Award” from the Black & Latino Clergy Coalition, the HOPE Organization Award, the Liga Roberto Clemente Award, “Most distinguished citizen” by the Hispanic Fire Fighters of Union and Essex County, and the American Red Cross “Heroes Award”.
On Wednesday, February 4, 2015 Quintana was nominated to the Elected Officials Hall of Fame during the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.
Councilman Quintana is now serving as the Vice Chairman of the State of New Jersey Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission he was appointed to the Board by the Governor of the State of New Jersey.
Over the years, Luis Quintana has proven his loyalty to the City of Newark by being an outstanding citizen and official, he is now celebrating over 35 years of Community Service in the City of Newark.