Mike Martinez

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Mike Martinez
Born (1969-08-01) August 1, 1969 (age 49)
Known forAustin City Council Member
Spouse(s)Lara Wendler

Michael W. "Mike" Martinez (August 1, 1969) is a former Austin City Council member and former mayoral candidate in Austin, Texas.[1][2][3] He served as the Board Chair of the Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority, the Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Business Enterprise and Small Business Council Subcommittee.[4][5][6] Martinez was a member of the Judicial Committee, Public Health and Human Services Subcommittee and was on the Cap Metro Board of Directors.[4][6] He has served on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas and worked as a diversity trainer with the National Coalition Building Institute.[4]

Martinez previously worked for the Austin Fire Department and was head of the firefighter's union.[1] He graduated from Leadership Austin and completed the LBJ School of Public Affairs West Point Military Leadership Program, however he has never served in the military. Martinez has never received a college degree.[5][4]

Early life[edit]

Martinez grew up in Rockdale, Texas, a city 65 miles northeast of Austin, Texas.[5]


Austin Fire Department[edit]

Martinez began working for the Austin Fire Department in October 1992.[1][4][5] In 1993, he served as a Drill and Ceremony team member of the Austin Fire Department's Honor Guard.[1][4] He was Chair of the Austin Firefighters Association Political Action Committee from 2001 to 2004.[1][4] Martinez was elected president of the Austin Firefighters Association in 2003.[1][4][5] During his term as president, he helped secure collective bargaining rights for firefighters and a pay raise that made Austin firefighters among the highest paid in Texas.[5]

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority[edit]

In June 2007, he joined the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board of directors.[5] Martinez became the board chairman in February 2010.[5]


Martinez became an Austin City Council member in June 2006.[1][6] That December, he sponsored a resolution to preserve Oak Springs in East Austin from development.[4] In January 2007, Martinez sponsored an ordinance to create a Homestead Preservation District that aimed to reduce the effects of rising values by using a portion of increased property taxes to fund affordable housing in East Austin.[4] In 2009, Mike Martinez was the lead sponsor on a city ordinance that banned the use of mobile devices while driving.[7]

Martinez launched his campaign for Austin Mayor in April 2014.[6] In August, he supported an Austin City Council resolution that would help create more solar energy for Austin Energy consumers.[8][9] That September, Martinez supported Austin City Council member Kathie Tovo's proposal to give Austin homeowners a $5,000 cut through a general homestead exemption.[10]

Martinez advanced to a run-off by placing second in the November 4, 2014 general election after the leading voter getter, Steve Adler, failed to achieve a majority of the vote. In the run-off election held on December 16, 2014 Martinez was defeated by Adler by a total of 52,125 (67%) to 25,610 (33%).[1]


In 2015, Martinez joined the affordable housing startup Kasita[11] as head of Government and Community Affairs. Martinez also serves as Diversity Advocate at Kasita.

Electoral history[edit]

2014 Austin Mayoral Run-Off Election
Party Candidate Votes %
Non-partisan Steve Adler 52,125 67
Non-partisan Mike Martinez 25,610 33

2012 Austin City Council Place 2
Party Candidate Votes %
Non-partisan Mike Martinez 26,462 55.5
Non-partisan Laura Pressley 21,196 44.5
2006 Austin City Council Place 2
Party Candidate Votes %
Non-partisan Mike Martinez 26,028 56.6
Non-partisan Eliza May 12,071 26.3
Non-partisan Wes Benedict 7,882 17.1
2009 Austin City Council Place 2
Party Candidate Votes %
Non-partisan Mike Martinez 43,725 85
Non-partisan Jose Quintero 7,746 15

Personal life[edit]

Mike Martinez lives in a newly built East Austin home with his wife, Lara Wendler and his two children.[1][4][5]


The Austin Chronicle named Mike Martinez the "Best Council Member" in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012.[12][13][14][15]


Council emails[edit]

In February 2011 it was reported that Martinez had referred to City Manager Marc Ott and an assistant council member as "jokes" in an email exchange with Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell.[16] Martinez apologized for his comments the following day.[17] One day later, the Austin chapter of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People filed ethics complaints against Martinez and Leffingwell.[18] The City of Austin Ethics Review Commission dismissed the NAACP complaints in April 2011.[19]

In an initial response to an early 2011 public information request for email exchanges between Austin City Council members, Mike Martinez's office released fewer than a dozen emails. Later, Martinez acknowledged that his office did not release all emails pursuant to the request and accepted for responsibility for the "oversight."[20]

Open meetings[edit]

In April 2011, Capital Metro released 3,000 emails pursuant to a request by the Travis County attorney to determine whether or not the Capital Metro board was meeting in small groups to avoid a quorum.[21]

According to the Austin American Statesman, there was "scant" evidence of this.

Martinez in his role as Council Member was under criminal investigation for sending e-mails in violation of the Open Meetings Act. In order to avoid criminal prosecution, Martinez had to enter into a compliance agreement with prosecutors.[22] While under criminal investigation, he was charged $24,657.50 in legal fees which was covered with taxpayer funds.[23]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "COUNCIL MEMBER MIKE MARTINEZ". Retrieved 2014-09-21.
  2. ^ W. Gardner Selby (09-04-2014). "Do renters comprise majority in Austin?". Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ Brandon Watson (05-06-2014). "Mike Martinez and the Name Game". Retrieved 2014-09-21. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Current Board Members". Retrieved 2014-09-21.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Background Investigation: Mike Martinez". 2012-02-25. Retrieved 2014-09-21.
  6. ^ a b c d Haley Cihock (2014-03-19). "Mayor's job could change, Martinez announces planned bid". Retrieved 2014-09-21.
  7. ^ Sarah Coppola (2009-10-22). "Council passes texting ban". Retrieved 2014-09-21.
  8. ^ "Austin City Council to consider solar energy resolution". Energy Monitor Worldwide. 08-29- 2014. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ Lilly Rockwell (2014-08-27). "Austin Energy warning against renewable plan". Austin American-Statesman.
  10. ^ "Tovo's exemption small, but significant". Austin American-Statesman. 09-05-2014. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ "Kasita • One Size. Fits All". Kasita. Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  12. ^ "Best of Austin 2009 - Best Council Member: Mike Martinez". The Austin Chronicle. 2009. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  13. ^ "Best of Austin 2010 - Best Council Member: Mike Martinez". The Austin Chronicle. 2010. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  14. ^ "Best of Austin 2008". Retrieved 2014-09-11.
  15. ^ "Best Council Member: Mike Martinez". Retrieved 2014-09-21.
  16. ^ Plohetski, Tony (February 25, 2011). "Council e-mails obtained by Statesman". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  17. ^ Plohetski, Tony; Coppola, Sarah (February 26, 2011). "Mayor, council members apologize for e-mailed remarks". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  18. ^ Salazar, John A. (February 28, 2012). "NAACP files ethics complaint against Leffingwell, Martinez". Your News Now. Time Warner Cable. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  19. ^ City of Austin Ethics Review Commission Minutes. April 12, 2011 http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=161998
  20. ^ Coppola, Sarah; Plohetski, Tony (March 1, 2011). "Martinez says he'll hand over hundreds more e-mails". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  21. ^ Ben Wear (04-09-2011). "Cap Metro releases nearly 3,000 e-mails". Check date values in: |date= (help)
  22. ^ "City leaders signing deals to avoid charges in open meetings saga". Austin American Statesman. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  23. ^ "City Spent $157,636 to Defend Council Violations". Austin Bulldog. Retrieved 5 October 2014.