Longtime resident of the Rockaways in Queens and Dominican Republic national Nancy J. Martinez has announced her candidacy for the 31st City Council District, saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for “real leadership in this community.”
Council District 31 comprises the Queens neighborhoods of Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens.
“We have suffered, and I believe residents deserve real change and reform,” Martinez told Caribbean Life in an exclusive interview. “I am running because my experience and service to this community are needed, and I am qualified to address the issues that have been affecting this district for so many years.”
Describing herself as a “change agent,” Martinez said she has “what it takes” to represent constituents in the City Council.
As part of her campaign platform, Martinez said she will address key issues surrounding transportation and employment.
On her campaign website, Martinez said that she has devoted her life to fighting for others.
“Now, I’m bringing that fight to City Hall,” she says. “For too long, Rockaway has been overlooked by New York’s leaders.
“Our city has grown by leaps and bounds, but our neighborhoods have been left behind,” she adds. “Too many families in our community struggle to pay their bills and put food on the table. It’s time for that to change.”
Martinez, who attended PS105, JH198, IS53 and Far Rockaway High School, owns New York Career Training School, LLC.
She told Caribbean Life that although she has also lived abroad and traveled the world, her heart has always led her back to the Rockaways, describing herself as “a dynamic entrepreneur, business owner and philanthropist,” who possesses “the tenacity to launch successful business and the compassion to help those in need.”
Martinez said she experienced a traumatic change in her life due to an accident, which resulted in her brother becoming a paraplegic.
“This trauma instilled a deep sense of helping others in need by sharing what we had rather than worrying about what we didn’t have,” she said, adding that her experiences both at home in the Rockaways and in other countries have cultivated her desire to assist children, especially the poor, orphaned and ill by establishing charitable campaigns and causes that provide more than medical supplies, food and clothing.
Martinez said she spent over a decade in the health care industry learning about health care regulations, designing patient care standards and learning how to run a successful business.
She said her goal was to establish a business that could assist persons in starting a career path in the health care industry, “not just looking for a job.”
Therefore, in 2010, Martinez opened the New York Career Training School, LLC in Far Rockaway.
Today, she said the school offers courses in three different languages – English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese – “because of the diversity of students representing over 25 countries and nationalities.”
To date, Martinez said the training school has graduated over 16,000 students and, with an estimated rate of over 98 percent, has employed close to 15,760 of graduates.
In March 2017, Martinez was elected to the board of directors of the Joseph P. Addabbo Health Clinics.
She said her compassion and commitment to her community includes the founding and development of Rockaway Adult Social Center in Far Rockaway as a tribute to many of the seniors who supported and stood by her when she launched her business.
In September 2016, Martinez also established an international foundation “Tocando Corazones” (Touching Hearts), which provides educational and health care needs worldwide.
Over the years, Martinez said she has been recognized for her outstanding contributions to the community and has been a recipient of a number of awards and honors.
They include: Woman of the Year from The National Association of Professional Women 2011/2012; Project Hope Certificate of Appreciation, February 2014; Joseph W. Stehn Community Builders Award, May 14, 2014; New York State Senate Proclamation for distinguished citizen and devoted member of the community, May 2014; and New York State Assembly Citation from Assemblywoman Michele R. Titus;
Others were: Sen. James Sanders, Jr. Certificate of Recognition for philanthropic work in the community, Mar. 19, 2016; Queens Power Women in Business Award, June 2016; James E. Davis Stop Violence Foundation Entrepreneurship, Nov. 17, 2016; and The Council of the City of New York Proclamation for Donovan Richards 4th Annual Women’s History Month, March 4, 2017.
A proud mother of two and the daughter of a decorated marine who instilled in her “a deep sense of honor and service,” Martinez said every day she works to serve her community and to provide a hand to lift up those who need it.
“Be it through professional training, job placement, health care education, charity, or just being a good neighbor, I fight every day for others,” she said, stating that he will continue that fight in the City Council.