State Senator Iris Y. Martinez was sworn into her first term in the Illinois General Assembly on January 8, 2003, representing the newly created 20 th Legislative District. The 20 th District includes parts of the Chicago neighborhoods, Albany Park, Avondale, Belmont Cragin, Hermosa, Humboldt Park, Logan Square, and Portage Park.
Senator Martinez made history on the day she was sworn in by becoming the first Hispanic woman in Illinois to be elected to the State Senate. She continued that legacy when she became the first Hispanic woman to be a Vice-Chair of a Senate committee - the Insurance and Pensions Committee. She was also named to the Appropriations and the Health and Human Services Committees. Always a trailblazer, Iris Y. Martinez is the first Hispanic woman in Illinois to be elected State Central Committeewoman, representing the 4 th Congressional District for the State Democratic Party – a position she has held since 1994 and where she currently serves as Vice-Chairman. She was also appointed to serve as Delegate of the Democratic National Committee - the only Hispanic representing the Mid-West. She was recently elected Secretary of the DNC’s Hispanic Caucus and executive member of the DNC’s Women’s Caucus. In recognition of her accomplishments, in 2004, Senator Martinez was awarded the Hillary Rodham Clinton Leadership Award presented to an outstanding female elected official by the Illinois Democratic Women’s organization.
In her first year in Springfield, Senator Martinez worked diligently to protect our families, our homes and our communities. She ensured that community agencies such as the Children’s Place (an agency that works with children and families affected by HIV and AIDS) and Concordia Avondale Community Center, which provides daycare, after-school programs and a center for seniors, received state funding to continue providing their much needed services to the community. She also sponsored and passed legislation to improve the health and welfare of the neediest residents of her district, focusing mainly on women’s health issues.
During the second year of the 93 rd General Assembly, Senator Martinez continued her commitment to the people of Illinois with her efforts to pass the Grow Our Own Teachers Program to help bring more teachers to underserved areas and address dangerously low teacher retention rates. She passed ‘Louie’s Law’, which will get tougher with hit-and-run drivers by increasing the penalty for failing to report an accident within a 30 minute time period. She also worked to preserve thousands of Federally Subsidized Housing Units at risk of being lost by creating a law to set a new national standard to help maintain affordable housing for seniors and low-income families.
When not in Springfield; Senator Martinez is an Assistant Commissioner with the Chicago Department of Human Services as a liaison to the Hispanic Ministers and community based organizations. She is a Board Member of the Illinois Women’s Institute of Leadership (IWIL) and Secretary of the Conference of Women Legislators (COWL).
Martinez was born and raised in Chicago’s West Town community. She resides in the Albany Park Community and has a daughter, Jacklyn Nicole.