When he was appointed to the Ward 3 seat on the Reno City Council in October, Miguel Martinez, 32, told the council that he is very “goal oriented.”
Martinez’s resume gives weight to that statement: The kid who grew up in a mobile home park on Kietzke Lane went on to earn three college degrees, including a master’s in education; he has served on more than a dozen local boards and committees; and for the last seven years, he has been an educator and coordinator at Truckee Meadows Community College.
At TMCC, he said, his job includes improving education-attainment gaps, expanding accessibility to higher education, and developing a stronger sense of community. Public service, he said, has always been a vocation.
“I have always loved helping people, and since I started working at (TMCC), I’ve worked hard to help young people make the transition from student life to work life,” Martinez said. “I help them with the most basic things, from how to put on a tie to how to prepare for a job interview. … (As a councilman), I want to continue educating and providing resources that provide security and well-being to our community.”
He replaced Councilman Oscar Delgado, who resigned in September. Martinez’s term ends in 2024.
Ward 3 is a diverse area of Reno, encompassing a variety of services and constituents. The ward includes the Wells Avenue business district, the CARES (homeless) campus, Greater Nevada Field, and a large segment of the Truckee River. It also boasts two Reno Parks and Recreation Department facilities: Teglia’s Paradise Park Activity Center and the Neil Road Recreation Center.
Martinez, who is married and has two daughters, sees informing and educating residents about city services as a big part of his job as a councilman.
“There are a lot of programs out there that are still unknown to a lot of people in Reno, and that’s one of my jobs: letting people know about the help that’s out there,” he said. “For example, there are people in Reno who are homeless and are unaware of the programs that exist to help them, (like) the Clean and Safe program.”
Ward 3 includes a large percentage of Latinx people.
“I am also very concerned about the Hispanic community,” Martinez said. “My parents are Mexican, so I understand the challenges they face. Unfortunately, many of these people are unaware of the services that are available to them, especially health services. That is one of my main functions as a council person: to inform people about the services that are offered.”
Reaching out to younger residents is also a priority. He said his experiences at TMCC have helped him understand the importance of integrating the next generation into the city’s affairs.
“I would like young people to join the projects of the Reno city government,” Martinez said. “We have the Youth City Council, a group ranging in age from 14 to 22. (They) plan events and activities for the youth in Reno and provide input to the Reno City Council regarding youth issues that relate to the city of Reno.”
Residents interested in the Youth City Council can find more information on the City of Reno website, he noted.
Martinez said he’s still learning the ropes as a council member, but wants to help improve the city’s infrastructure, particularly in Ward 3, and work on public-safety issues.
Martinez earned an associate’s degree from Truckee Meadows Community College, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a master’s degree in higher education administration from Virginia Tech.
His service on Reno committees and panels includes the city’s Capital Projects Surcharge Committee, the Oversight Panel for Schools, the Special Events Subcommittee, the Washoe County Stadium Authority, the Human Rights Commission, the Recreation and Parks Commission, the Reno-Tahoe Airport Noise Panel and the Youth City Council. He also served as an alternate member of the Community Homeless Advisory Board, the Community Development Block Grant Subcommittee, the Truckee River Flood Management Authority and the Downtown Reno Business Improvement District.