Art Martinez de Vara

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Art Martinez de Vara
Mayor of Von Ormy, Texas
Assumed office
November 4, 2008
Personal details
Born (1975-04-29) April 29, 1975 (age 39)
Houston, Texas
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Marina Martinez de Vara
Alma mater St. Mary's University School of Law (J.D.)
Sam Houston State University (M.A.)
St. Mary's University (M.A.)
University of Colorado (B.A.)
Profession Mayor
Religion Roman Catholic

Art Martinez de Vara (born April 29, 1975) is an American politician and the founder and current Mayor of Von Ormy, Texas.

Early life[edit]

Martinez de Vara was born in Houston on April 29, 1975. He is a graduate of DeBakey High School for Health Professions and attended the Plan II Honors Program at the University of Texas at Austin. While at UT, Martinez de Vara founded the internet service provider AustinNet. The company later merged and re-located to Denver, Colorado. He graduated in 2007 from University of Colorado, majoring in History. He later graduated from St. Mary's University Law School. He also holds two Master of Arts degrees, one in Theology and one in History. While in law school, he interned for the Hon. Xavier Rodriguez, U.S. district judge for the Western District of Texas.

Incorporations of New Cities[edit]

In the summer of 2006, Martinez de Vara led a group of Von Ormy residents that incorporated the city.[1] Von Ormy was the first city in Bexar County in over thirty years. Since that time, Martinez de Vara has assisted in establishing over half of the new cities in Texas, including Providence Village, Texas, Ivanhoe, Texas, Sandy Oaks, Texas and Savannah Heights, Texas.[2]


In 2008, Martinez de Vara became the first Mayor of Von Ormy, Texas [3] becoming one of youngest mayors in the United States. He is a 6th generation Von Ormian.

He sought to establish himself as a leader on issues of economic development, education, and suburban independence. The newly formed city embarked on a large master planning project immediately after the first council took office. In its first three years the City had an aggressive agenda which organized a municipal police department, implemented a curbside recycling program, installed street lighting, cleaned up illegal dump sites, initiated uniform garbage collection, resurfaced two unpaved roads, opened a municipal court, organized a health department, completed a park master plan, acquired funds for an infrastructure master plan, began planning for a sewer system and community center and passed by public election an Economic Development Corporation and Community Development Corporation. Martinez de Vara's tenure is also notable for its three consecutive annual tax cuts of 10% each.[4] The formation of the city of Von Ormy spurred a movement of suburban city formation in South Texas. [5]

Martinez de Vara serves as President of the South Texas Partnership of Governments and the Vice-President of the Texas Municipal League, Region 7.[6]

In 2013, citing the social enterprise tone set by Mayor Martinez de Vara, Brooks Academy of Science and Engineering announced plans to establish a charter school in Von Ormy.[7]

Energy Policy[edit]

Martinez de Vara was recognized by the Business Journal for establishing and running a notable public policy think tank on Energy Policy.[6]

Texas Legislature[edit]

In 2011, Martinez de Vara served as Chief-of-Staff/Legislative Director for State Rep. John Garza, District 117 becoming the first sitting mayor to serve in the capacity in the Texas Legislature. Garza's authored or co-authored over thirty five bills dealing primarily with property tax reform, rural and suburban water rights, election integrity, greater accountability in government, and home owner association reform.[8]

Immigration policy[edit]

In the 82nd Texas Legislature, while serving as Chief of Staff for State Rep. John V. Garza, Martinez de Vara drafed HCR 88, which outlines a framework for modernizing the national immigration system utilizing a national guest worker program.[9] At its 2012 State Convention, the Republican Party of Texas adopted this framework under the name of "The Texas Solution" making Texas the first state Republican Party to do so.[10] Martinez de Vara chaired the Platform Subcommittee that drafted the Texas Solution.[11] The guest worker program framework adopted by the Republican Party of Texas was later incorporated into the 2012 National Republican Party Platform marking a significant shift in Republican policy. [12]

Von Ormy Star[edit]

In 2008, Martinez de Vara founded The Von Ormy Star newspaper which covers local and regional news.

Electoral College[edit]

In the 2008 General Election, Martinez de Vara was elected as a Republican to serve in the Electoral College representing the 23rd Congressional District of Texas.[6]


Martinez de Vara is a Historian of Texas History and has been published in the Handbook of Texas, Encyclopedia of Texas Music and various periodicals.[13] His writings focus on early Tejano history and Jose Francisco Ruiz. Martinez de Vara is also the author of two books on the history and records of Paso de las Garzas, Texas and Bexar, Texas.

Von Ormy Film Commission[edit]

In 2012, Martinez de Vara founded the Von Ormy Film Commission along with directors Emmanuel Delfin and Brian Ramirez. Von Ormy is now home to a budding South Texas film industry centered around the Von Ormy Film Commission. In 2013, the San Antonio Express News declared Von Ormy "Farm Film Capitol of South Texas." [14]


  1. ^ Rose, Barbara (1 January 2011). "His Town: Firefighter, Lawyer, Now Mayor of the City He Helped Incorporate". ABA Journal. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Aldridge, James (20 February 2014). "Legal paperwork filed to incorporate Savannah Heights as a city". San Antonio Business Journal. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Election Results Media Report, November 4, 2008". Bexar County Elections. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Aldridge, James (19 September 2012). "Von Ormy adopts property tax cut". San Antonio Business Journal. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Gonzalez, John (4 March 2012). "Growth beyond cities to be explored". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "Texas Municipal League - Region 7". Texas Municipal League. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Aldridge, James (4 February 2013). "Brooks science academy seeking to build extension campus in Von Ormy". San Antonio Business Journal. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "Texas Legislature Online". Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "HCR 88". Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  10. ^ Aguilar, Julian. "State GOP Stands By New Immigration Position". Texas Tribune. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  11. ^ Bush, Jeb (2013), Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution, New York: Threshold Editions, ISBN 978-1476713458 , 212
  12. ^ "GOP's shift on immigration could lead to Texas-style reform". Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "Art Martinez de Vara". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  14. ^ "In Von Ormy, movie stars are regular folks". San Antonio Express News. Retrieved 24 February 2013.