Last Wednesday at the opening of a new restaurant and bar along East Boston’s waterfront, Jessica Martinez was shadowing her new boss, introducing herself to residents and chatting with constituents.
Martinez is the newest face in Rep. Adrian Madaro’s office but she’s no stranger to Eastie, in fact the lifelong resident and former U.S. Marine has the latitude and longitude of the house she grew up in on Putnam Street tattooed on her forearm.
“I was born and raised here,” Martinez proudly says at the waterfront event when asked about the tattoo. “I was a Zumix kid, I went to school here and after serving in the Marines in Washington DC and getting my degree from George Washington University I moved back.”
Martinez, Madaro’s new Legislative Aid, was born in Eastie to immigrant parents from El Salvador. As a child, she attended the Donald McKay School from kindergarten through eighth grade.
During this time, she discovered youth music programming at the local non-profit, Zumix. She became very involved in various programs and soon became one of the lead singers of Zumix’s DiverCity Band. She served as an ambassador for Zumix and performed at various venues and events all over Boston. Martinez’s love and passion for music inspired her to audition and later attend Boston Arts Academy for high school.
After graduating from high school, Martinez decided to actively serve in the United States Marine Corps. She was stationed at the oldest active post in the Marine Corps, Marine Barracks Washington, also known as “8th and I.” There she had the opportunity to work for the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band in their supply and logistics office. During her time at “8th and I”, she volunteered as a Docent in the Home of the Commandants and performed during the unit’s Friday Evening Parades as a Crowd Educator. Martinez also served as the president of the Single Marine Program (SMP), a program designed to serve as the voice for the unmarried Marine community – identifying concerns, developing initiatives, and providing recreational activities, special events, and opportunities for community involvement.
Outside of the unit, Martinez volunteered with Everybody Wins DC, a literacy program for elementary school aged children. She also volunteered annually for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) in their annual National Good Grief Camp Seminar. TAPS is a national organization providing peer-based emotional support to youth who are grieving the death of loved ones who served in the military.
Following her military career, Martinez remained in the Washington, D.C. area and attended The George Washington University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and History, and a concentration in Conflict Resolution. During her undergraduate studies, she held an internship with the Department of State in the office of the European Union and Regional Affairs. She was also involved in the university’s veteran community program, GW Vets, where she organized various networking and community-building events for members.
After graduating from college, she moved back to Eastie and took a job as an Office Assistant with a local architecture and design firm, Shepley Bulfinch. After six months of being with the firm, she was promoted to the role of Project Support, where she administratively assisted five project teams across the country. While she enjoyed her time with Shepley Bulfinch, she said she was eager to get back to serving communities more frequently and directly.
“I want to thank Rep. Madaro, for this wonderful opportunity,” said Martinez. “I am fortunate to join this incredibly committed team and look forward to supporting and advocating for everyone in the community.”
Madaro was given the opportunity to hire a new district staff member upon being appointed as House Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery in February. The addition of another staff member will allow the office to handle the increased workload, balancing the demands of legislative and committee work with constituent services.
“I am excited to welcome Jess to my team,” said Madaro. “A great addition to our office, she is intelligent, driven, highly professional, and motivated to serve the East Boston community. As a daughter of immigrants who grew up in our neighborhood, and as a veteran who served her country in the armed forces, Jess brings a unique and valuable perspective to the work we do. I am proud to have her join our expanding office, helping to serve our constituents in East Boston”.
With Martinez joining the team, Madaro aide Gloribel Rivas has been promoted to the position of Legislative Director & Researcher, with Steven Gingras continuing in the position of Chief of Staff.