Luis Quintana was sworn in as first Latino mayor of Newark, New Jersey. (Photo: NBC New York)

Luis Quintana sworn in as Newark’s first Latino mayor

Former Newark Municipal Council President Luis Quintana was sworn in this morning, becoming the first Latino mayor of New Jersey’s largest city.

Quintana, 53,  will finish the unexpired term of Cory Booker, who was elected to the U.S. Senate last month and was sworn in Thursday.

The unanimous selection by the council in an emergency meeting made Quintana the first Latino mayor in Newark’s 300-year history.  About a third of the city of 277,727 people are Hispanic, according to Census data.

Booker serves until July 1, 2014, when Booker’s term expires. The city will be holding general elections in May, when a new mayor will be elected. Quintana said he has no plans to seek the job.

He automatically became acting mayor when Booker’s resignation took effect, but now that designation has been removed.

Quintana is a native of Puerto Rico who moved to Newark with his family at age 8. He had served on the city council since 1994.

As mayor, Quintana will have to come up with a new fiscal plan for Newark and faces ongoing pressure over the city’s rising crime rates.

According to the New Jersey Star Ledger, Quintana said, “For many years, I have served our residents, and I hear the hue and cry in the streets of our city to reduce crime and unify our people, and I will work to do that.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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