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In historic appointment, Maria Montaño named press secretary for Pittsburgh mayor’s office

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
Maria Montaño speaks during an event at Point Park University in 2021.

Mayor Ed Gainey named Maria Montaño as his administration’s new press secretary on Monday. The appointment is historic for Pittsburgh: Montaño will be the first openly transgender woman to serve as press secretary and one of the highest-ranking Latinas in city government.

Montaño previously worked in communications for the union SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. She also worked with city councilor Erika Strassburger to expand protections for the LGBTQ community in Pittsburgh.

“She brings a wealth of communications, media, and lived experience to my Administration,” Gainey said in a statement on Monday. “I am confident in her commitment to making Pittsburgh a more livable city for all of us.”

Julia Zenkevich is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at