Martins leaving Mineola for Albany

Jack Martins emerges the victor in the 7th

Jack Martins emerges the victor in the 7th senate district after the election was formerly certified in supreme court. (Dec. 4, 2010) (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

As Jack Martins, a longtime Mineola resident, prepares to relinquish his job as mayor of the village for a new career in the state Senate, he's planning to deliver on promises he made during his campaign.

Martins, a Republican, says he plans to keep his pledges to fight high taxes, combat wasteful spending, create jobs and place a new emphasis on ethics in Albany.

"That is the plan," Martins, 43, said Saturday in an interview. "I think nothing else would be acceptable.

Martins, a first-generation American whose parents emigrated from northern Portugal in the 1960s, has been mayor of Mineola since 2003 and has also served as a village trustee and library board trustee. He was born in Jamaica, Queens; his family moved to Mineola when he was 3.

The newly elected state senator counts his efforts at revitalizing and stabilizing Mineola's downtown among his key accomplishments as mayor.

During Martins' tenure, several major residential projects with affordable housing components were erected in Mineola.

Martins also points to his financial efforts in the village - noting that while he was mayor, Mineola had eight successive balanced budgets. Before that, the village was $33 million in debt, Martins said.

"My most significant success was turning the village's finances around," Martins said.

Martins says as a result of his efforts to make government more transparent, Mineola residents can now watch village public meetings and sessions on local TV. He also placed governmental actions on the village website.

A 1985 graduate of Chaminade High School, Martins also graduated from American University in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in political science and from St. John's University School of Law in 1991 with a J.D.

Martins had his own law firm in Mineola for 15 years, dealing mostly with businesses, and has also worked as an attorney for his family's construction company, J & A Concrete Corp. in Bohemia.

State Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said in a telephone interview that Martins is a politician who "knows how to really communicate in a very positive way."

"I find him to be very deliberative and a student of government," Skelos said. "Having been the mayor of a village, he knows how complicated governing can be from an executive point of view."

In 2008, Martins ran unsuccessfully for Congress against Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola). Despite that loss, Skelos said he noticed Martins' campaigning skills.

Martins has two brothers and two sisters. He lives in Mineola with his wife, Paula, and four daughters - Kaitlin, Vanessa, Emma and Caroline - and said he spends most of his spare time with his family.

Saturday, Martins sounded a bit wistful as he reflected on his tenure in Mineola: "I've had the good fortune of working with so many good people over the past eight years."

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