Mark Squilla represents City Council’s First District, a diverse and growing area that stretches along the Delaware River from his native South Philadelphia across Center City, Chinatown, Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Kensington and Port Richmond.
First elected in 2011, Councilman Squilla’s life in public service began nearly two decades earlier, when he brought his Whitman neighbors together to save their local park, Burke Playground. When the City gave the space to the community’s oversight, Mark coordinated the efforts that resulted in a complete, neighborhood-led renovation. The work’s enhanced lighting, paving and new equipment increased Burke’s profile and use as a safe haven for area kids.
After seeing how the playground project united his neighborhood to make a positive difference, Mark began a weekly Saturday morning cleanup joined by members of local youth athletics teams, many of whom he had coached. As the group grew, he began voicing and seeking resolutions to community concerns ranging from broken streetlights to the effects of highway reconstruction. Since 1998, Mark has a member of the Democratic City Committee, representing Ward 39B, and in 2008, his neighbors elected him President of Whitman Council. For 25 years, the future Councilman served the cause of accountability and transparency in state government through his work in the Office of Pennsylvania’s Auditor General.
Councilman Squilla’s experience as a community organizer, public servant, husband and father have taught him that strong families and engaged neighborhoods are the key to Philadelphia’s future. As the city grows and evolves, Mark believes that bringing together the best of each community’s tradition and new life is crucial to Philadelphia’s success, block by block and group by group. Since taking office, he has shown his commitment to this belief by immersing himself into efforts like the move toward revitalizing the Reading Viaduct and the planning work of the Central Delaware Advisory Group, to the ongoing growth and challenges of the East Passyunk Business Improvement District, which has become one of the East Coast’s most prominent emerging hotspots for living, dining and nightlife.
Councilman Squilla is Chair of Council’s Streets Committee. Given its presence in the First District, he is likewise an ex officio member of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority.
A graduate of St John Neumann High School and LaSalle University, Mark has been married for 22 years to Brigid, a nurse anesthetist. The Councilman’s three daughters and son currently attend high school and college in the Philadelphia area.