Mike Martinez plans to work with university, students to bring bus pass agreement to St. Edward’s

Councilman Mike Martinez, 45, calls himself a “champion for the middle class.” He cites his record on the Austin City Council and as the chairman of Capital Metro for this title. Martinez’s next step, he hopes, is mayor of Austin.

Martinez has served on the city council since 2006 and has led on numerous issues relating to the middle class. One issue he feels is particularly important to students is transportation.

The University of Texas at Austin and Austin Community College have agreements with Capital Metro that give students bus passes. UT and ACC pay for the bulk of the fee, but students pay for the rest through their student fees.

Martinez would love to see St. Edward’s have a similar agreement, but believes the dialogue must begin with students.

“You know, sometimes it’s okay for me to reach out to Dr. Martin as chairman of Capital Metro and say ‘would you like to sit down with me?’ But other times it’s about a grassroots movement,” Martinez said.

Martinez continued to say that as long as the conversation happens, students will benefit.

“Students need to have that alternative mode of transportation available to them,” he said.

Another issue that Martinez believes hits students hard is the affordability of Austin. He wants to remove what he calls “hidden taxes” away from all Austinites, whether they rent or own a home. These “hidden taxes” are found in utility bills and can come from the city increasing fees.

“Affordability is not just about keeping things cheap,” Martinez said. “One of the things that I championed and most proud of is raising the minimum wage to $11 an hour whenever and wherever we can.”

Just like citizens of Austin need money to survive, so does a campaign. Martinez’s campaign has raised a total of $248,799.82. Martinez has raised more money than his fellow council member Sheryl Cole. Both campaigns have been eclipsed by Steve Adler’s total of $568,805.79.

Adler has loaned his campaign $296,000 since March.

“The bottom line is no election can be bought, especially in Austin, Texas,“ Martinez said.

Martinez plans to reach out and visit voters across the city up to Election Day and possibly into the runoff.

There have been rumors swirling around ACL and SXSW possibly moving from Austin, something Martinez believes will not happen.

“I don’t think they’re moving; every year the conversation happens because those events grow bigger and bigger,” he said. “If you leave Austin, it’s no longer ACL. It’s not Austin City Limits if you leave Austin. It’s not SXSW if you leave Austin.”

Martinez said he knows the people running these events and that they do not want to leave Austin.

“We have to make sure that we have the ability to handle such large events,” he said.

The councilman is very familiar with St. Edward’s because he used to live on campus at both Doyle and Premont halls because his then-wife, Dean of Students Lisa Kirkpatrick, was an resident assistant. He said living in the dorms “wasn’t bad.”

Since moving off campus, Martinez has kept up with all the changes at St. Edward’s.

“I know St. Ed’s students are a major part of our community, especially as it relates to South Austin,” he said. “They will certainly have a mayor that understands the things they struggle with on a day-to-day basis here in Austin.”