Matthew G. Martínez

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Marty Martínez
Matthew G Martinez.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from California
In office
July 13, 1982 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by George E. Danielson (30th)
Mervyn Dymally (31st)
Succeeded by Xavier Becerra (30th)
Hilda Solis (31st)
Constituency 30th district (1982–93)
31st district (1993–2001)
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 59th district
In office
Preceded by Jack R. Fenton
Succeeded by Charles Calderon
Personal details
Born (1929-02-14)February 14, 1929
Walsenburg, Colorado, U.S.
Died October 15, 2011(2011-10-15) (aged 82)
Fredericksburg, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Republican (Before 1974, 2000–2011)
Democratic (1974–2000)
Education Los Angeles Trade-Technical College

Matthew Gilbert "Marty" Martínez (February 14, 1929 – October 15, 2011)[1] was a Congressional representative who was both a member of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party from California's 30th congressional district from 1982 to 1993 and California's 31st congressional district from 1993 to 2001. Martínez switched parties to become a Republican after being defeated in a 2000 primary.

Early life[edit]

Martínez's family moved to Los Angeles, California when he was young, and he attended public schools in Los Angeles. In 1949 he graduated from Roosevelt High School. From 1947 to 1950 he served in the U.S. Marine Corps, achieving the rank of private first class. In 1956 he received a certificate of competence from the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.[2]

For the next fifteen years he owned and operated a custom furniture upholstery company, and worked as a building contractor.

Political career[edit]

He began his political career in 1971 when he became a member of the Monterey Park Planning Commission, and served until 1974 when he was elected to the Monterey Park City Council. He served until 1980, including two terms as mayor in 1974 and 1980.

In 1980, Martínez defeated incumbent Jack R. Fenton in the Democratic primary election in California's 59th State Assembly district. He was elected to the California State Assembly with no major party opponent.[3]

In 1982 George E. Danielson left the U.S. House of Representatives to take the bench. Martínez won the special election to succeed him, and was reelected nine times by varying margins.

In his first term in Congress he was assigned to the Education and Labor Committee. In the 99th Congress (1985–87) he chaired the Subcommittee on Employment Opportunities. In 1991, he became the Chairman of the Human Resources Subcommittee. In 1992, Martínez was named to the Foreign Affairs Committee, and served on the Subcommittee on International Security, International Organizations and Human Rights.

In 2000, Martínez was defeated in the Democratic primary by liberal State Senator Hilda Solis 62% to 29%. She charged he was out of touch with his district when he voted to ban partial-birth abortion and opposed gun control. (He was both Roman Catholic and a member of the National Rifle Association.)[2] While he had been a reliably Democratic vote on most issues throughout his congressional career, after his primary loss Martínez began to vote overwhelmingly with Republicans. On July 27, 2000, Martínez switched to the Republican Party, arguing that the Democrats had abandoned him. There was no Republican candidate on the ballot in the district for the 2000 Election, and Martínez declined to attempt a write-in candidacy, though he remained critical of Solis and promised to stay active in the Republican party.[4] His term in Congress ended on January 3, 2001 at the end of the 106th Congress.


Martínez was married to Elvira Yorba Martinez, with whom he had five children: Matthew Adrian, Michael Gilbert, Diane, Susan, and Carol Ann. His daughter, Diane Martínez, served in the State Assembly from 1992 to 1998.


On October 15, 2011, Martínez died at his home in Fredericksburg, Virginia.[5][6][7] He had suffered from congestive heart failure.[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Simon, Richard; Antonio Olivo (2000-02-23). "Two Incumbent Congressmen Facing Tough Challenges". Los Angeles Times. p. B-1. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  3. ^ Vassar, Alex; Shane Meyers. "11-04-1980 Election". JoinCalifornia. One Voter Project. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  4. ^ Simon, Richard (July 27, 2000). "Martinez Switches to GOP in His Final Term". The Los Angeles Times. 
  5. ^ "Matthew G. 'Marty' Martinez dies at 82; former congressman". Los Angeles Times. October 21, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Former area Congressman Matthew 'Marty' Martinez dead at 82". Pasadena Star-News. October 18, 2011. Archived from the original on June 4, 2012. 
  7. ^ Hevesi, Dennis (October 19, 2011). "Matthew G. Martinez, Ex-Democratic Lawmaker, Dies at 82". New York Times. 
  8. ^ Shapiro, T. Rees (October 20, 2011). "Nine-term California congressman Matthew G. Martinez dies at 82". The Washington Post. 
  9. ^ "Matthew Gilbert Martinez." Marquis Who's Who TM. Marquis Who's Who, 2008. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. (Fee) Document Number: K2013018942

External links[edit]

California Assembly
Preceded by
Jack R. Fenton
Member of the California Assembly
from the 59th district

Succeeded by
Charles Calderon
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
George E. Danielson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 30th congressional district

Succeeded by
Xavier Becerra
Preceded by
Bill Richardson
Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Succeeded by
Esteban Edward Torres
Preceded by
Mervyn M. Dymally
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 31st congressional district

Succeeded by
Hilda Solis