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Martinez announces re-election bid for third term on Council

Friday, November 18, 2011 by Josh Rosenblatt

It’s official: Council Member Mike Martinez will be running for a third term on the Austin City Council. Martinez announced his decision during a short ceremony yesterday at the Saltillo Plaza Red Line station on his beloved eastside.

Flanked by several former and current members of the Austin Fire Department, with whom he served for 15 years before running for Council for the first time in 2006, and introduced by his campaign treasurer, Celia Israel, Martinez told the crowd of about 50 that the theme of his third campaign will be no different than those of his first two and of his time in office.

“I will continue to fight for equality for all Austinites,” he said. “I will continue to be the voice for all Austinites. And I will continue to fight for equity among out citizens. We should all be able to participate in our community. We should all be able to partake of the beauty that we call Austin.”

Martinez said he decided to announce his re-election bid at Saltillo Plaza not only to remind people of the role he played on the Capital Metro Board of Directors in bringing urban rail to Austin, but also to draw a clear distinction between what Austin is and what Austin could be.

“We have a accomplished many things in our first 5 ½ years, but there’s more to be done. Look at the backdrop,” he said, pointing west down Fifth Street toward downtown. “The skyline is beautiful, but look at the work that needs to be done between this gazebo and that skyline.”

Speaking to In Fact Daily after his speech, Martinez said that work involves finding a balance between developing the east side and maintaining longtime, established communities.

To do that, he said, “you maintain the values that we as a community have always held, and that is preserving affordability. You require that development maintain the levels of affordability where this community can participate. You also ask employers that come into that area to have a component that allows community members from that ZIP code to be a part of their workforce. Those are the types of initiatives that I’ll keep fighting for.”

Martinez also pointed to the Homestead Preservation District – which established a community land trust, a land bank, and a reinvestment zone that directs a portion of increased property taxes in East Austin to ease the “ill effects” of gentrification – as a “critical tool for stemming the tide of gentrification and allowing folks to spend their last years in their home in East Austin where they started their lives and not be taxed out.” He also said he would continue working to promote the proposed charter amendment that would institute a single-member-district form of Council representation.

“For six years I’ve been advocating for a different form of government because I believe we can better reflect and represent our communities, so I’ll continue supporting that,” Martinez said.

Sylvia Camarillo has been hired as Martinez’s campaign manager. Longtime political consultants Mark Nathan and Mark Littlefield, who are also working for the re-election of Mayor Lee Leffingwell, are on the team as well.

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