Mónica Martínez: A Salvadoran-American in Albany

Mónica Martínez (wearing blue) with her family after becoming the first senator of Salvadoran descent in New York State. (Photo from Sen. Martínez’s office via El Diario)

Last Wednesday was a long, intense and emotional day for Mónica Martínez, who has made history by becoming the first New York State senator of Salvadoran descent. She took her oath of office to represent the 3rd District (Brentwood) in Albany with her left hand over a Bible held by her mother Ana, and surrounded by her siblings, nieces, nephews and others.

“It was a proud moment for me and my family. We are the ‘American dream.’ We left our country to find a better life, my parents made many sacrifices, and this proves that they were not in vain,” Martínez told El Diario.

(…) The intensity of Martínez’s first day as state legislator was crowned by the news that one of the high school students who received the three-year science grant sponsored by Suffolk County arranged by her was acknowledged at the renowned Regeneron Science Talent Search.

The youths in the program have been collaborating in a research team led by doctors Dianna Padilla and Rebecca Grella to investigate ecology, nitrogen pollution and alternatives to rescue bodies of water such as the Connetquot River and Flax Pond.

Water is one of Long Island’s most critical issues, as is the need for academic opportunities for immigrant students. For this reason, Martínez’s agenda includes demanding that the island’s schools receive their fair share of education aid and new funds to protect drinking water sources. In addition, she is requesting the area’s part of the $2.5 billion for draining infrastructure be mandated in the Clean Water Infrastructure Act.

Martínez has expressed her solidarity and support for the petitions made by the National TPS Alliance, which assembles dozens of committees of immigrants – not just from El Salvador but also from Honduras, Haiti and some African countries – who are protected by the temporary protected status.

(…) “We must find a way for these families who, like us, have lived here for years to have access to permanent residence and citizenship,” said Martínez.

(…) The senator has also aligned herself with the cause of protecting citizens from “the catastrophic impact of the cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions imposed by Washington,” which will raise taxes and bring down the value of homes on Long Island.

(…) Other issues she will tackle include the approval of ethics reforms, closing loopholes for LLCs and passing amendments including implementing early voting and no-excuse absentee voting ballots.

Sen. Martínez also took her oath in a public event on Saturday at Brentwood High School’s Sonderling Auditorium.

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