Martinez wants to help students, businesses

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

After more than two decades of serving the community with the city and school board, Guadalupe T. Martinez wants to continue the trend by serving as Pct. 1 Justice of Peace.

Martinez is facing Juan Rodriguez Jr., City of Alice Mayor Pro-tem, in the March 4 Primary.

He said he decided to run for the position to help students stay in school.

"That's one of the main reasons why I'm running for Justice of Peace - truancy," Martinez said. "It's keeping the kids in school. I feel as a single parent raising my kids, I know I can make a difference. Sometimes children need to know that somebody cares."

He said working with individuals who need an extra helping hand to graduate is important for the future generation.

"I want every child to graduate," he said. "It's hard enough, but without a high school diploma, it's harder."

He plans to integrate a plan to install truancy software that's being used in other school districts to manage the truancy program and be able to have the information at his fingertips.

"I'm gong to look into the (truancy) software, I know some truancy courts are doing that," he said.

He said the program would allow him to share information with the schools and vice-versa to keep up with truant students.

Martinez is a 1969 University of Texas graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. He is married to Mary Alice, and between them he has one son, one daughter, one stepson and four grandchildren.

Martinez said declining truancy and assisting businesses to stay afloat are two issues he will be focusing on as a Justice of Peace.

He said as a business owner for 29 years, he understands the dilemmas businesses sometimes encounter when they are not paid for their services.

"I'm a businessman and I want to take care of the (small) businesses, sometimes they don't get paid and lawsuits are real expensive," he said.

"We need to keep our businesses."

Martinez said as Justice of Peace he would be responsible for small claim suits up to $10,000 in his court.

"I know I can listen to both sides and make the right decision," he said.

He said with his managerial experience, he is confident that he can manage the Pct. 1 Justice of Peace office, which has about 60 percent of the caseload in the county.

"I know that I can manage it because I've been in business," Martinez said. "I think I can touch more people, I know I can, that's what I've done all of my life."