Martínez, a graduate of St. John’s Jesuit High School with a bachelor’s degree from Lourdes in international business and a master’s in organizational leadership from the same institution, started campaigning earlier last week on St. Patrick’s Day – attending fundraisers and parties, shaking hands from dawn to dusk.
While this is the first time Martínez, a Democrat, has run for elective office, he is no stranger to the rigors of the campaign trail. He has participated in a number of campaigns in the past including that of former Governor Richard Celeste and locally for Auditor Anita López and former City Councilwoman Taylor Balderas.
“At a very young age, I was instilled with a sense of civic responsibility,” said Martínez last week when The Truth asked him why he was seeking a seat on Council. “I had great mentors who helped me including a father and brothers who served in the military.
“For me, serving on City Council is an opportunity to make the greatest impact.”
Martínez said that his focus, if elected, would be on assisting “micro to small businesses.”
As a small business owner – Martínez has owned and operated a landscape and snow removal business for the past four years – he has gained an understanding, he said, of the obstacles that actually hinder the development of such enterprises.
“We need a one-stop shop operation within neighborhoods,” he said. He advocates creating a process that will pull together the disparate elements of business development – the RGP, LCIC, ASSETS Toledo, for example – in order to facilitate small business development.
Martínez said he will work to create a mentorship program, a “long-term plan to help manage our government.” Such a plan, he said, will help “to develop opportunities for individuals to advance and will lead to the promotion of women and minorities … providing they are qualified.”
He stressed that he believes in the need to draw some attention to the fire department’s application for a FEMA safety grant. “I haven’t heard much talk about that,” he noted.
But Martínez makes it clear that his focus as a councilman will be on job development with micro to small businesses.
He chides the city’s current elected officials for their lack of foresight with respect to job development and their inclination in the past to depend on big businesses to provide job growth in the area.
“Everyone saw this coming a while back and no one did anything about it,” he said. “Was it complacency … arrogance? We need to focus on small businesses and make sure they have the resources they need. If we spend more time doing that, we will save money and help the economy grow.”
In addition to his credentials as a small business owner, Martínez has a development background. For two and a half years, Martínez worked for Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) as a program developer. LISC raises funds to assist community development corporations with residential and commercial development projects.
His family includes parents Fran and John Martínez and two brothers, Patrick, a deputy sheriff, and Danny, who is in the U.S. Navy.
Martínez is currently completing work on a second master’s degree in urban planning, one of the steps he has taken to prepare himself for the role he is seeking on Toledo City Council.
“It has helped me understand the disparities on socio-economic issues,” he said, adding that he has been involved with some sort of community organization for most of his life.
That would be the Toledo community, a community his family has been part of for decades.