Skip to main content

Murray Journal

Kat Martinez elected to Murray City Council

Nov 18, 2019 03:12PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Kat Martinez greets visitors at her campaign table at Murray Area Chamber of Commerce’s Meet-the-Candidate night. (Photo courtesy Kat Martinez)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

Voters in Murray wanted change this last election cycle after sending both incumbent city councilors, including District 1 council member Dave Nicponski, packing in the primary election. Then, Murray City District 1 voters selected Kat Martinez over Jake Pehrson by a margin of 9%.

A third-generation Murrayite, this is Martinez’s first election. She has been serving Murray City as a member of the Murray Arts Advisory Board as well as serving on the Viewmont Elementary Community Council and the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA) board.

“Campaigning in Murray has been such a rewarding experience. I have loved meeting residents, hearing their concerns, and learning more about our community,” Martinez said.

With Martinez’s election, Murray has its first-ever female majority city council. She joins Councilwomen Diane Turner and newly-elected Rosalba Dominguez. Martinez was endorsed by all members of the current city council except for Brett Hales, who was running unopposed in District 5.

Martinez’s campaign focus was on safety, stewardship and strategic growth. Her safety platform called for collaborating with the Murray School District to fund handing out trigger locks at back-to-school nights and parent-teacher conferences. Other platform items included an annual neighborhood cleanup plan similar to Salt Lake City’s Call 2 Haul program.

“I think Murray is a wonderful city, and I want to make sure we keep it on the right path. A main concern of mine is to ensure that any developments in Murray are not just ADA compliant but welcoming and inclusive to all Murray residents, regardless of mobility challenges or other disabilities,” Martinez said.

One issue that Martinez will face immediately is the redevelopment of downtown Murray. Murray has begun construction of a new fire station and purchased property for a new city hall. The city has acquired the Murray Mansion and the Murray Theater and has zoning and design issues in the downtown area. Martinez has suggested finding a public transit solution to support Murray Theater’s lack of parking.

“I am very excited for the new city hall and optimistic we will have many more proposals for development in downtown Murray,” Martinez said. “As a community, we will have the opportunity to make our city center a vibrant and engaging space once again.”

Martinez is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in fine arts. She currently works at the State of Utah Department of Health Child Care Licensing as a trainer. Before that, she owned a daycare and was a middle school teacher.

One issue that was indirectly called out by her opponent during the campaign was where Martinez’s campaign donations were coming from. On his campaign Facebook page, Pehrson said, “The Campaign Finance Statements have been posted to the Murray City website. Do you know where your potential city council person is getting their money?” Martinez out-fundraised Pehrson nearly three-to-one, and she had some notable backers, such as Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson and State Senators Luz Escamilla and Karen Kwan.

Martinez responded, “As Financial Disclosures do not include the addresses of those who have donated, I find this type of speculation to be made in bad faith and designed to purposefully mislead. I am incredibly proud to have had 88 individual donors who donated a total of $8,050 to my campaign online alone. Thirty-nine of those donations were for less than $50. To have so many individuals believe in me and support my run for the city council with their hard-earned money is beyond humbling. I am so grateful to my family, friends, and community members who believed in me and supported my run for office.”

Looking forward, Martinez maintains a positive attitude toward taking the oath of office in January. “I love this community, and I believe when you care about something, you should take care of it.”