In Reading, Penn., Eddie Moran was elected the city’s first Latino mayor on Tuesday.
The Puerto Rican Democrat defeated Republican opponent Lou Perugini in the progressive and increasingly Latino city by nearly 5,000 votes.
According to census data, Reading, the fifth-most populous Pennsylvania city, is 64% Latino, up from 37% two decades ago. The growing demographic is largely Puerto Rican and Dominican.
In his victory speech, Moran recognized and celebrated the accomplishments of recent Latino arrivals to the city.
“My victory today is bigger than me and every individual in this room,” Moran, 52, told a crowd of supporters waving Puerto Rican flags at the city’s Presidential Ballroom at Lincoln Tower Tuesday evening. “Tonight, we become pioneers, and by standing on the shoulders of others before me, we are setting a new path forward for Latino leadership for decades to come.”
Moran, who was born in Hatillo, Puerto Rico and raised on the Caribbean archipelago and Brooklyn, New York, moved to Reading in 2008.
“I came here with the hopes of having the American dream. Having a white picket fence, and becoming a soccer and baseball dad,” Moran told Philadelphia radio station WHYY-FM. “My story is not much different than the majority of the community.”
The former insurance agent became involved in local politics after witnessing the city’s special education programs available to his son Danny, who has autism. Since 2013, he has been on the Reading School Board, currently serving as its vice president.
Moran ran on a platform that’s pro-education and economic growth.