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Guest Column: Driven by family to make a difference in 27A

Guest Column by Thomas Martinez


My wife and I named our four children after American historical figures. Eleanor shares her name with Eleanor Roosevelt, because I wanted her to know that it’s all right to disagree with people and to be outspoken. Theodore was named after another Roosevelt. I chose this name because I want him to live an extraordinary life and to know that adventure is always within reach. Henry is remarkably good-natured. The day we adopted him we changed his name to honor the philosopher Henry David Thoreau. I knew one day he would have questions about his identity and his relationship to his environment. I want him to look within for answers and put his trust in simple truths. My youngest child, Mabel, gets her namesake from Maybelle Carter. Maybelle changed the world with her guitar. Some even associate her strumming pattern “the Carter scratch” with the birth of bluegrass music. Women weren’t allowed center stage back then, but that didn’t stop her.

Thomas Martinez

My name is Thomas Martinez. I am a 36-year-old Mexican-American man, born and raised here in Freeborn County, and I see a lot of myself in my children. I have worked a variety of jobs: welder, laborer, bartender and sanitation driver. I’m currently driving for St. John’s, transporting seniors to appointments. I attend MSU-Mankato part time, and my wife, Natalie, is an attorney and public defender. I believe my experiences give me first-hand knowledge of what everyday life is like for average southern Minnesotans. We are a hard-working, smart and diverse population who want a system that is, above all else, fair.

Eleanor Roosevelt fought for African American civil rights as first lady, and if she were alive today I think she would be proud of how far we’ve come as a nation. But I also think she would not shy away from addressing the inequalities that persist. It’s clear to me Minnesota is ready to have that conversation.

Among Theodore Roosevelt’s vast interests and accomplishments was a sense of exhilaration with the natural world. My friends know me as a very engaged outdoorsman and that I care a great deal about our lakes, streams, farmland, and amenities like public parks and bike paths. They make our home an attractive place to live, work, and play. We need a renewable energy grid so that we can use our natural resources without depleting them, create new high paying jobs, and safeguard the future of this district by building a more resilient and sustainable local economy.

Like Thoreau, I struggled with identity as a young man. I used to identify with the music I listened to, then with the books I read. Now that I have a wife and kids whose future I worry about, I identify as a southern Minnesotan. That is why I feel compelled to run for the House of Representatives. I want to work with the next generation of leaders and scientists who understand the consensus that climate change is real, driven by human activity, and we need to deal with it in a strategic and cooperative manner.

I realize that I may be an unconventional candidate for this area, like Maybelle was for her audience, but I won’t let it stop me either. I want a tax system that is fair for working-class families, where large corporations pay their fair share, so rural residents and farmers don’t bear the heaviest brunt of taxes. I will work hard so that all families have access to quality education, affordable health care services and affordable child care.

Please vote for me, Thomas Martinez, for House of Representatives in District 27A.

DFLer Thomas Martinez of Hayward is running for the District 27A House of Representatives seat.