By We’Ced Youth Media
Photo via courtesy of Anthony Martinez
Editor’s Note: This is the second profile in We’Ced’s #MeetyourMercedCandidates series, which hopes to introduce young people and new voters in Merced to people running for office in their community. All four District 1 candidates, Sonia F. Alshami, Lakisha Jenkins, Jesse, Ornelas and Anthony Martinez, were contacted. We requested candidates complete a questionnaire and submit their responses. Profiles posted are from candidates who responded to our request.
Name: Anthony Levi Martinez
Education: AA English 2008, BA English 2009, Single-Subject Teaching Credential 2012
Residence: Merced, CA
Running for: Merced City Council, District 1
Why are you running for political office?
I am running because I believe many in Merced feel there is nothing coming for them, no one looking out for them, and not many they can trust. There are those who feel that certain groups receive partial treatment over others, and certain people are valued over others based on the relationships they carry rather than the good they bring. This is why I am running. Because I believe that partiality and political bias have created an apathetic environment among our working class that threatens our ability to raise a family and bring good works to others. And I seek to do away with it.
What changes are you trying to enact/bring about in Merced?
I seek to raise the morale of Merced by bringing good deeds and kind acts to all segments of our population. I seek to change the way new parents see this city as a place to raise a family I seek to change the way our youth see this town as an area of ineptitude and misery. Instead, I want the youth to know that the city is not only here for them, but depends on them to become strong men and women of character who must take up the charge of leading Merced into fruition. I want parents to view Merced as a community that is deeply interconnected and uniformly benefits from progressive change in the city. I want Merced to be a city where everyone understands that we are all in this together, and it is up to every one of us to make sure that we take care of our family, our neighborhoods and each other.
How important is the youth vote for you? What are you doing to gain the youth vote?
I do not look to gain the youth vote for me. I look to gain the youth vote for Merced. This means that I want the youth to feel a similar sense of pride, belonging, and responsibility to this city that I feel. As a teacher I teach my students about the sociological dynamics of this city. I teach them about the follies of this city and those who seek to overcome the follies. As a councilmember, I seek to take this further and incorporate a locally-oriented, personally relevant education for the youth. I desire to visit all three major high schools and all five major middle schools in the area, on a yearly basis, and speak to our youth in their schools to let them know who I am and why I depend on them to take my place: that the adults will lay a path straight for them, but they must walk it until the end, and straighten it further for those who come next.
Do you have kids, and if so, what schools do they attend?
I have approximately 160 kids. Approximately 140 of them are from Weaver Middle School and 20 of them are from El Capitan. I see them five days a week, and everyday we see each other we learn from one another.
What makes you different from the other candidates?
I really can’t speak about other candidates. I don’t know them very well, personally. However, I can say that I believe I have a special intelligence that allows me to help others become better at what they do, especially others that much is not expected. This is probably the main reason why I’ve felt so natural as a coach and teacher since I first began coaching in 2006.
How connected are you to the community of Merced?
I’d like to believe that I am connected quite well to the community. I try to stay active in volunteering and showing support to many groups and people in Merced. For example, I volunteer as a docent for the Merced County Courthouse Museum. I also show support to the Weaver community and local youth sports by attending band events and sports functions. I also seek out other organizations that I think share the same desires and goals that I have, such as Building Healthy Communities and We’Ced. This has allowed me to meet lots of awesome, new people.
What are you going to do about bringing more jobs to Merced?
It is true that crime and public safety threaten economic development. However, this issue is bigger than that. There are emerging industries in California that Merced has failed to support. It is my goal to support these emerging industries even if they compete with current special interests. I seek to bring in competition because I believe that competition stimulates capitalism which leads to economic development. When we take care of current interests at the expense of emerging technologies and industries it causes complacency in the economy and no growth can occur. I believe this has happened to Merced, and I think it’s time to see emerging technologies and industries expand in Merced.
Do you like animals? What is your favorite one?
When I was in college I had a rooster. His name was Rocket. He was a great friend. Now, I don’t have any pets, but there is a horse that lives by Weaver school that I feed apples, leaves, and carrots to. She is a beautiful horse. I named her Bella Luna.
What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy coaching, weight-lifting, and playing sports such as football and baseball. I also like riding my bicycle and visiting the horse.