July 12 – Hagerstown Mayor Tekesha Martinez has officially announced that she will be running for Congress.
She said, “I was filed yesterday. Today will be the official launch kickoff. I shot a video over the last couple of weeks. I haven’t seen it yet. I also don’t know the colors that my team has picked. I like to do the work and right now being the mayor and finishing what we set out as administration is most important, but then also running this race is important too.”
When residents worry about losing Martinez, she has words of assurance.
“I’m not going anywhere,” she confirmed. “I am Western Maryland. I’m Hagerstown. I feel like this is a great opportunity not just for Hagerstown, not just for Washington County, but this entire area. We need to figure out how to get those jobs, recruit those outside tax dollars to this area. I’m a valley girl. I’m not going anywhere.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “The criticism of the current Congressman is he doesn’t even live in the district and there’s always been this feeling like this area in particular does not get the representation that the rest of the state gets even by the Congressman representing this area.”
“I agree,” Martinez said.
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “So let me put you on the spot here. Once it’s Congresswoman Martinez, can we have access like we have Congressman John Joyce on the radio a couple of times a month? You’re ‘all access’?”
“Absolutely,” Martinez confirmed. “I actually felt like this was where I needed to first say it. That I am filing to run for Congress because I feel like we have developed a relationship in the last couple of months.”
Jansen said, “Such a key word. We need these relationships more than ever with the polarization we’re facing in our country, ideologically, politically, in so many ways. So I applaud that so much.”
The run will be next May.
Martinez said, “We’re talking about a $3 to $4 million race. For council, I ran for city council and spent $5,000. We put a lot of work in, but we spent $5,000. I only had yard signs in individual people’s yards. I didn’t do anything extra. I didn’t do big parties. I don’t spend money like that. For Congress to acquire that, what I believe is a team behind me, I would be much more effective.”
Is getting lost in DC a concern?
Martinez said, “I can’t get lost. I have way too much star power and when I say that, I’m saying that from my humble place. I have way too much and for me to maneuver in the hometown that I’m from, where all my trauma happened, where all my work, where all my healing happened, all my family lives, my impact is already what it is. I can’t get lost. The only thing I can do is be louder, and make this better. I am crazy connected to a lot of people. I’m a poet. I’m a relationship builder. Everywhere I go, I draw people in. I feel like Congress is the exact place that I need to be to help mediate the divides. That’s what I do.”
Jansen added, “I feel like when you say I can’t get lost, you feel very grounded in who you are. Because we have dear friends who have gone to DC and just told us they felt they just wanted to get out of there because there’s so much corruption. Anyone who goes down, immediately you’re going to get hit with that. You have to be able to know who you are, what your principles are and avoid that. Like you said, surround yourself with a good team.”
When Martinez makes it to Congress, what will happen with the mayor in Hagerstown?
Martinez said, “I have two people in mind and I have been nudging, pushing. The one is a woman. I feel like she has way more diplomacy than I did. She’s not in politics at all. For me, being the mayor is easier than it was for me being council. City council, I had to vote. I had to pay attention. I pay attention as the mayor, but I had to study more, learn from my colleagues, do more discerning across the table, where being the mayor is about facilitating government. So it’s so much easier and I feel like a person that understands how to do this without being so offended needs to be in that seat to carry on what we’re going to do and what needs to happen in Hagerstown, but there’s also going to be two seats open on council.”