Meet Our 2018 Labor Candidates: Susie Martinez, Assembly District 12

Fast Facts:

 Susan has been a Teamster in the Las Vegas hospitality industry for 30 years.
 When she sees blankets at yard sales, Susan picks them up to keep in her car, along with pet food, in case she comes across someone who’s homeless (and may have a pet) while she’s out. 
 Susan is a dog lover—she has four of them!

Every election season, local ballots across the U.S. are filled with both new and veteran candidates from one spectrum of political affiliation and ideals to the other, accompanied by the highly individual passions those candidates bring to their campaigns. Sometimes those passions and political aspirations are driven by a singular interest, and sometimes they’re fueled as much by a deep connection and commitment to a local community as they are the political issues we face and struggle with.

Democrat Susan Martinez has lived in Assembly District 12 for two decades. In those years she’s seen it change and grow, including all the growing pains that accompany those things. Now she wants to be part of the legislative team that leads District 12 into a bright future. 

We asked Susan what she had in mind for a seat on the State Assembly.

What was your motivation for throwing your hat in the ring for Assembly District 12 this year?

My parents moved here in 1959 to give my sisters and me a better life. I’ve never moved away from Nevada, and I’ve lived in District 12 for over 20 years. I’m raising my own daughter here now and I see the things newer generations are struggling with. Our schools are #48 in the nation. Not only do we need to improve our educational system and support teachers for the benefit of our kids’ generation—they’ll be the ones taking care of us, we want them to be educated so they can be successful!—but we need an educated workforce to bring good jobs to Las Vegas.

Our schools are so underfunded, and the funding formula is so antiquated. The way it was set up 50 years ago, it hasn’t been revisited. We’ve changed, we’ve grown, we need to revisit those policies and update them to reflect who we are as Nevadans today and what our goals are.

I understand you’re a big advocate for police and fire, and for organized labor as well. You’ve been a Teamster for 30 years. What are your labor-related goals? What should working men and women in Nevada know about your plans in office?

I would love to see an end to Nevada being a right-to-work state. That would be amazing. Beyond that, I want to encourage people and businesses here to have respect for labor unions and their contracts. Labor is the engine that keeps this state moving. Unions should set the standard for things like prevailing wage and working conditions. Workers across the whole state benefit when unions are strong. 

My parents were both in culinary unions in Las Vegas, but before my mother even got into the workforce, we were provided for—all six of us—because my father was a member of the local Culinary Union. Now I’m in the same position, able to provide for my daughter as a union member myself. Two generations of my family have benefitted from union membership, and I want to pay that forward to the next generation of working families in Nevada. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. To learn more about Susan Martinez, visit her campaign website at