Martin Chávez

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Martin Chávez
28th Mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico
In office
December 1, 2001 – November 30, 2009
Preceded by Jim Baca
Succeeded by Richard J. Berry
26th Mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico
In office
December 1, 1993 – November 30, 1997
Preceded by Louis E. Saavedra
Succeeded by Jim Baca
Personal details
Born Martin Joseph Chávez
(1952-03-02) March 2, 1952 (age 63)
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Children Martinique Chávez
Zeke Chávez
Alma mater University of New Mexico
Georgetown University Law Center
Occupation Executive Director of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA
Religion Roman Catholic

Martin Joseph Chávez (born March 2, 1952[1]) is a former three-term mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico and New Mexico State Senator.[1][2] He served as the Executive Director of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA.[3] and Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Center for Green Schools at U.S. Green Building Council.[4] In 2012, he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for the Congressional seat being vacated by Martin Heinrich, who retired from the House to run for Senate.[5]

He has been a senior advisor to Ready for Hillary and a co-chair of Latinos for Hillary.

Early life, education, and early business career[edit]

In 1952, he was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico of Hispanic heritage. Chávez attended both parochial (St. Charles Borromeo and Holy Ghost) and public (Van Buren Junior High and Manzano High) schools.[2] After graduating from Manzano High School, Chávez earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of New Mexico and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center.[2] He was the founding director of the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Administration in 1986.[2][6]

New Mexico Senate[edit]

From 1987 to 1993 he served in the New Mexico State Senate where he helped pass the New Mexico Workers Compensation Act and the Voter Registration Reform Act.[2]

First mayoral term[edit]

1993 election[edit]

He pulled a major upset by defeating former Governor David Cargo in the 1993 election for Mayor of Albuquerque 50.4%-49.6%, a difference of just 596 votes.[7]


He was named one of "America's 25 Most Dynamic Mayors" by Newsweek magazine in 1997.[3]

1998 gubernatorial election[edit]

In 1997, Chávez decided not to run for re-election as mayor and instead ran for Governor of New Mexico in 1998. He won the six-candidate Democratic primary with 48% of the vote and won most of the counties in the state. He defeated some very well-experienced candidates such as State Representative Gary King, former Governor Jerry Apodaca, and State Auditor Robert Vigil.[8] In the general election he was defeated by incumbent Republican Governor Gary Johnson 55%-45%.[9]

Second mayoral term[edit]

2001 election[edit]

In 2001, Chávez again ran for Mayor of Albuquerque and finished first in a seven-candidate race.

2005 re-election bid[edit]

In 2005, he was the first mayor to be re-elected two consecutive terms since the creation of the strong mayoral form of government in 1974[2]


As Mayor, Chávez partnered with the University of New Mexico, Sandia National Laboratories and leading entrepreneurs and educators to establish the Albuquerque Institute of Math and Science (AIMS), a charter high school dedicated to academic excellence. In 2009, the AIMS graduated its first senior class of 26 students. For the first time in New Mexico's history, an entire graduating class had enrolled in college.[2][10] AIMS is now number 1 public high school in the State of New Mexico for math, science and reading.


During his tenure as Mayor, Chávez and the City of Albuquerque received the following recognitions:

  • Top Ten Places to Live In the US, U.S. News & World Report (2009);[3]
  • “Cool” Mayor Award, Mayors for Climate Protection –cited as “The Visionary” for sustainable water vision, urban forestry program and climate change initiatives, ICLEI (2009);[3]
  • EPA Climate Protection Award, 1st Place, US Environmental Protection Agency (2008);[11]
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Siemens Sustainable Community Award (2008);[12]
  • Fittest City in America, Men's Fitness Magazine (2008);[13]
  • Renewable Energy Innovator of the Year Award, Association of Energy Engineers (2008);[3]
  • Best Cities for Jobs or a Career, Forbes Magazine (2007);[14]
  • Climate Protection Award, 1st Place, United States Conference of Mayors (2007);[15]
  • Most Pet Friendly City, 3rd Place, Forbes Magazine (2007);[16]
  • World Leadership Award for Water Utilities Conservation, World Leadership Forum, London, (2006)[17]
  • Number-one Place to do Business, Forbes Magazine (2006);[18]
  • Mayor of Trees Award, National Alliance for Community Trees (2004);[3]
  • William F. Dixon Award for Open Government, the Foundation for Open Government (2004);[19]

2008 U.S. Senate election[edit]

On October 8, 2007, Chávez announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat that was being vacated by retiring Republican Senator Pete Domenici. Democratic leaders, including Senator Charles Schumer, Chairman of Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, recruited Tom Udall into the race.[20]

Chávez indicated that he intended to remain in the race, referring to Udall as Washington's "fair-haired boy".[21] However, Chavez withdrew from the race on December 7 saying, "While I deeply appreciate all the support I have received, it has become very clear to me that Democrats should not be divided in the upcoming election.[22] "

2009 re-election bid[edit]

In 2009, Chávez succeeded in overturning a two-consecutive mayoral term limit, which he had gotten passed into law, and announced he would seek a third consecutive, and fourth overall, term as mayor. He ran against Republican State Representative Richard J. Berry and Democratic State Senator Richard Romero in a hotly contested race. Romero split the Democratic vote, and Richard J. Berry defeated Chavez 44% to 35% while Romero finished a distant third with 21%.[23]

Post-mayoral career[edit]


In March 2010, Chávez, was appointed Executive Director of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA. Chávez had served on ICLEI USA’s Board of Directors and was recognized nationally as a “green mayor” during his tenure in Albuquerque. Chavez leads a staff of 52 ICLEI USA employees, based in six regional offices: Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Oakland, and Seattle. In addition to these responsibilities Chávez also speaks a many conferences including George Mason University's Washington Youth Summit on the Environment in 2011.


Chavez serves on the Board of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). Chávez is a member of the National Building Museum’s Intelligent Cities Advisory Committee and member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Vibrant Cities and Urban Forests Task Force.[24][25] In March 2011, Chávez joined polar explorer and environmentalist Robert Swan, on an expedition to explore the effects of climate change in the Antarctica.[26] Chávez visited the remnants of the Larsen Ice Shelf known as “Larsen B"; once an ice shelf larger than the state of Rhode Island, which disintegrated over a three-week period in 2002 as a result of climate change. Chavez serves a Member of the Board of Directors of American Rivers.

2012 congressional election[edit]

Chávez sought the Democratic nomination to succeed Representative Martin Heinrich, but lost to Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham.[27]

Current Memberships[edit]

Martin Chavez was named to a two-year term on the Board of Directors of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in May 2013. He is a Member of the Board of Directors of American Rivers. He is a Senior Adviser to the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP),[28] and a Senior Adviser to P3GM, a Smart Cities Technology startup focusing on public private partnerships in the smart cities arena.[29]He is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Center for National Policy/Truman Security Project.


  1. ^ a b "Nm_Gov_Chavez". CBS News. October 6, 1998. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Marty's Story | Mayor Marty Chavez". Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Martin J. Chávez—ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA[dead link]
  4. ^ "Greening America's Schools Summit". Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  5. ^ Kyle Trygstad (June 29, 2011). "Ex-Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez Running in 1st District". Roll Call. Retrieved July 6, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Glenn R. Smith Named New Director of New Mexico Workers Compensation administration" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  7. ^ "Albuquerque, NM Mayor Race - Nov 09, 1993". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  8. ^ "NM Governor - D Primary Race - Jun 02, 1998". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  9. ^ "Martin J Chavez – Mayor of Albuquerque". City Mayors. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  10. ^ "2009 Albuquerque Mayoral Race". Democracy for New Mexico. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  11. ^ "2007 Climate Award Winners | Climate Protection Partnerships | US EPA". Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  12. ^ 2008 Siemens Sustainable Community Awards Winners | BCLC Archived September 27, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ [1] Archived October 11, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Clark, Hannah (February 16, 2007). "Table: Best Cities For Jobs". Forbes. 
  15. ^ "2007 mayors' Climate Protection Award Winners Announced" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  16. ^ Van Riper, Tom; Malone, Robert (October 10, 2007). "America's Most Pet-Friendly Cities". Forbes. 
  17. ^ Former ABQ Mayor Chavez takes job with sustainability org. | New Mexico Independent Archived February 21, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Number One Place". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  19. ^ FOG Open Government News[dead link]
  20. ^ Reid Wilson (June 16, 2008). "Schumer Wins Again". Real Clear Politics. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  21. ^ RALPH BLUMENTHAL (November 25, 2007). "Political Upheaval Follows a Rare Decision to Retire". New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Chávez drops out of U.S. Senate race". KRQE-TV. December 7, 2007. Retrieved December 18, 2007. 
  23. ^ Albuquerque: You Have a New Mayor | New Mexico Independent Archived January 3, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Task Force Members | Vibrant Cities & Urban Forests Archived June 22, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "Intelligent Cities: Martin Chávez". Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  26. ^ "ICLEI USA Executive Director Martin Chávez Joins Renowned Polar Explorer and Environmentalist, Sir Robert Swan, Global CEOs on Important Climate Change Expedition to Antarctic". EcoChamber. March 22, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Lujan Grisham wins hotly contested CD-1 primary". KOAT-TV. June 6, 2012. 
  28. ^
  29. ^

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Louis E. Saavedra
Mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico
Succeeded by
Jim Baca
Preceded by
Jim Baca
Mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico
Succeeded by
Richard J. Berry