Written by Carlos Contreras.
“Recently I had the ability and opportunity to sit down with State Representative Javier Martinez. We were able to catch up and chat about this state we both love so much, while also mentally preparing ourselves to join one another for an upcoming event on April 3rd at Tractor Wells Park, that will empower New Mexicans, to support choices and legislation that allow for fair and equitable access to resources, and vital needs for quality of life, for all New Mexicans. About that work – I asked Representative Martinez what makes him most proud about being able to serve his constituents.
“Being able to give back to New Mexico – even if only a little bit. New Mexico has given me and my family so much – this state welcomed us with open arms. I just want to give a little bit of myself to make it better,” he said. He didn’t always want to be a politician. Young Javier born just South of here, told me a bit about his upbringing and the influences that certain experiences had on him as a child.
“Growing up in Cd. Juárez and seeing the power of local political leaders to make change was always appealing to me. I remember a former Mayor of Juárez who once staged a hunger strike by sitting in on one of the international bridges to bring attention to the Mexican federal government’s lack of attention and support for the border region,” he shared.
Perhaps the striking nature of that story informs the real and very important reasons why Martinez has found himself in the Roundhouse as an adult. We have real challenges and disparities here at home – he spoke to some of those when we asked about New Mexico’s biggest challenges.
“As New Mexicans, we face an existential crisis. I won’t repeat all the statistics – we all know them very well. Our children are being born into poverty that is unprecedented. And that’s not the only problem. 35 years ago, young children had – on average – a total of 12 meaningful adult relationships. They truly had a village looking out for them. Today, NM’s children have an average of 1.5 meaningful adult relationships, meaning that not even both parents are present in a child’s life. Our children must be nurtured, loved and appreciated. Until we invest in our children meaningful resources to ensure their safety and success, NM will never get out of the deep poverty that it’s in. By investing in our children today, we’re ensuring the workforce of tomorrow. we’re ensuring the people who will lead our state toward 100% renewable energy, proper water management policies, an education system of the future, and the technologies that will transform the world,” he said. He didn’t just “say” that though – he offered us some opportunities as a greater community – as tax paying voters – to get involved in being part of the change.
“It all begins with investing in our children. We have a fund of $17.7 billion. Taking 1% of that fund and investing it in quality early childhood education is a great first stat. Furthermore, we must ensure that our small, local business have a fair shot and get a fair shake. I’m tired of incentivizing big-box type of industries. It’s time that we invest and incentivize the growth of local, responsible businesses,” the proud and energetic Representative stated.
We couldn’t agree more, Representative Martinez. In fact, we are glad there are minds like yours in that good ol’ Roundhouse up North. People looking out for what matters most is extremely key to the survival of some of the industries and intricacies that make New Mexico and New Mexicans special. We asked the Representative how he felt about those “special” pieces to our New Mexico puzzle. Our question was…
Why do small business and art matter so much to you?
“Both are the backbone of our local economy. Our challenge is to begin to bridge the arts with other types of business ventures. I love what Tractor has done over the years – by including art in different mediums into its daily operations, you are ensuring that art reaches audiences that it may not otherwise reach,” he explained.
Of that “reach,” we asked the “Rep,” what he thought about dreams – what his dreams are for this state of ours and the young men and women in it – to close he left us with this.
“I dream of a New Mexico where every child – no matter the color of their skin, their parent’s income level, or where they came from, can live enriching, fulfilling lives.
We asked him for words of encouragement that might guide said young people on their path toward achieving those lives he mentioned. The talented, young, driven, father, State Representative and community leader closed by saying this: “Fight. Be angry. Don’t be complacent. Don’t be a cynic. Question all of us. Ask for a seat at the table. If you’re not given one, grab a chair and make your own seat at the table.”