Wyandotte County Judge Tony Martinez needs your vote for the August 2nd Primary in Kansas. He said he has the experience after serving 4 years as a Wyandotte county Division 5 judge and believes his credentials speak for themselves.





This past Saturday, Wyandotte County Judge Tony Martinez took part in the Armourdale’s Annual Parade and Fiesta in KCK. For Martinez it is important to him to be a part of the community and to give back to the people he serves.





BY JOE ARCE AND COREY CRABLE


Getting to know the community in which he lives and serves as a judge is important to Tony Martinez.
Martinez, who has been a judge in Wyandotte County’s Division 5 since 2018, is up for re-election this year. Previously, he had practiced law throughout the Kansas City metro area for 27 years.


“I was doing well, and a couple of my buddies said, ‘There are no Mexican-American judges in Wyandotte County. I said, ‘That’s not right.’ … It isn’t a reflection of who we are as a community,’” Martinez recalls. “A couple of my contemporaries said, ‘Oh, just run or shut up.’ My wife and I said, ‘OK, we’ll do this.’ … I’m glad I did. It came down to the fact that we need a Mexican-American judge on the bench when we have so many Mexican-Americans in our community.’”


Perhaps more than anyone else, Martinez knows the importance of community. It’s why you’ll always see him out and about, chatting up fellow Wyandotte Countians and getting to know those who live around him. It’s something that can be frowned upon in the court of his peers, because to some, it straddles the line of ethically acceptable behavior for a judge for whom staying impartial is key.


That might be true, Martinez says, but he’s always been a big believer in building bridges between those in roles of authority and those who enter his courtroom.


“You have to know your community. … It’s important that we get out there as judges and stay in touch with (everyone),” he says. “Now, there are rules. We have to act ethically, we have to be fair and impartial. I was told originally that I can’t do this or that. … The more we can get out into the community, the better we are at understanding how people interact with us or law enforcement.”


Martinez continues, “I think the narrative has been pushed that we shouldn’t do that, but I think the rules are the opposite. I think that anything that a judge can do that is within our code of ethics, we should do. It’s going to promote confidence in the judiciary.”


The 62-year-old Martinez comes from a long line of hard-working people who make a difference in the lives of others. His family is originally from the Armourdale and Argentine neighborhoods, but they moved to the West Side after the 1951 flood. His father, a veteran of the Korean Conflict, worked as a truck driver and was able to retire at 58 his mother worked at a grain elevator for more than 20 years.


Both of his parents are still alive, Martinez says, and he speaks with them regularly.


“My parents always ask me, ‘Did you do something good today?’” Martinez says. My family … made sure I never forgot who I was. … This is the community my family comes from, but this is also the community that tells us, ‘Don’t forget who you are, and don’t forget who we are.’”


Martinez says he carried those reminders with him every day, especially during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic when he helped deliver food to families in need, and today, as he goes door to door in attempts to get to know even more of his neighbors and convince them why he deserves to remain on the bench.


“In the Latino culture, we’re people who will help you, feed you, we’ll take you in if you have no place to go. Other cultures think of us as a kind, family-oriented people,” says Martinez, again affirming his dedication to helping others and spreading kindness. “If a group is out there and I stop in to say hello, it enables them to feel more powerful because their judge has stopped by. That makes them feel better about themselves and what they’re doing.”


Martinez says he especially tries to connect with persons of color in his district, adding that he will never stop advocating for equality and equity.

“I’ve learned that we need to have a better judiciary. It’s important,” Martinez says. “I want to make sure everybody is treated equally, and that when you look at the bench, you’ll see someone with the same complexion as you.”

In addition, Martinez says the Black and Hispanic youths can help ensure that barriers are smashed simply by educating themselves.

“There have always been barriers, but we can’t complain about them unless we push our kids to get the education that is needed. We can do this, but we have to push our children that way. You just have to work,” Martinez explains. “Race is an important issue, and we can help with that if more people of color are represented as judges on the bench. That way, we can help alleviate discrimination, but we have to step forward. … I want to make sure a young brown person can say, ‘Hey, I can do that, too.’”

Still, Martinez says that he hopes voters see his wealth of experience and knowledge in addition to his skin color.

“I have that experience of representing people. I see why things work or don’t work the way they do,” he says.

If re-elected, Martinez says his work of connecting with others and making them feel that their voices are heard will continue.

“I’ve always tried to help people as much as I can, and nothing should curtail that, as long as I’m acting ethically,” Martinez says. “I’m at a spot in my life where I can give back. And why wouldn’t you? You have to be out in the community helping.” Primary is August 2, 2022. For more information go to his website https://reelectjudgemartinez.com/