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Steve Martinez enters race to offer real representation for NC District 117

Running for office was not in Steve Martinez’s plans, but the last few election cycles spurred him to do whatever he could to ensure that Henderson County voters have real representation in Raleigh.

“We need to give the people back their voice,” he said. “It’s not a democracy if voters don’t have a choice. It’s not a democracy if a small group of officials makes decisions without transparency. It’s not a democracy if our districts are gerrymandered to the point that a few extremists are choosing their voters rather than voters choosing their leaders.”

 In November, Steve filed to run for NC 117, which includes Fletcher, Mills River, and other communities in northwestern Henderson County.  Priorities for his campaign include planned growth, strong public education, respect for human rights, and affordable housing and healthcare.

Steve brings a strong background to his candidacy.  He is a scientist and Medical Consultant who has worked for 35 years as an anatomical and surgical pathology consultant across the country. He’s practiced or taught at numerous university medical centers and hospitals including Yale, Sloan-Kettering, UCLA, and the Cleveland Clinic. 

Originally from Colorado, Steve has lived in Henderson County for almost 20 years. He and his family were in Southern California when they began looking for a less hectic place to raise their children.  Because he worked in consulting, they could be anywhere that had a convenient airport, and they fell in love with Mills River. They moved here in 2005 and quickly became involved in church and other community programs. Their children attended and graduated from Henderson County Public Schools.

“This is my home and I would never consider living anywhere else. Thanks to my job, I’ve travelled to all but two states as well as many other places around the world, and I can tell you there is nowhere more beautiful than these mountains. Our people are friendly. The lifestyle has a nice pace. Everything I treasure is all right here.”

Since retiring from medicine, Steve is working to become more involved in efforts to make a positive difference in the political arena.  Like many others, he has noticed detrimental effects as corporations use their influence to put exorbitant profits over the wellbeing of the people, and he wants to find ways to change course. 

“Healthcare is where I notice the trend the most—recently, I consulted with a hospital in eastern North Carolina that is overwhelmed due to closures of smaller hospitals--but something similar is happening in many other fields. It’s happening with housing and education, and it’s definitely happening with runaway development that has impacted our land and our tourism-based economy.”

When he has free time, Steve recharges by riding his motorcycle along the backroads of Appalachia. “The beauty never ends,” he said. “I think we have an obligation to carefully manage growth to preserve our resources for our children.”

In addition to being a doctor, Steve is a professional musician who plays trumpet for several jazz bands as well as the orchestras of Biltmore Church and First Baptist Church of Hendersonville. He says his faith plays an important role in guiding his decisions, especially around human rights.  “I have a very clear memory from when I was a child and my father worked for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. One day he drove me out into the middle of nowhere. I couldn’t imagine what we were doing, but finally we came to an encampment. People were living in boxes, which I’d never seen.  And they were all glad to see my father because he helped them get jobs so they could provide for their families.  I’ll never forget that. This is how scripture tells us to live, to help the less fortunate, not to put people in cages or force a ten-year-old rape victim to give birth.”

If elected, Steve pledges to be involved in the community and to serve the needs of the people without being partisan.

“The extremist-controlled NC legislature isn’t working for the people; for example, they voted against expanding Medicaid for years, affecting who knows how many lives.  My opponent isn’t involved in the community; she just votes straight along party lines. My vote will be based on thoughtful examination of facts, a clear and sober consciousness, and foresight of consequences related to that vote. If people elect me, I will be a problem solver who can work well with other representatives and represent all the people no matter how they voted.” 


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