Bobby MartinezBobby Martinez is serving as Port Huenemeʼs mayor since January 2023.

Bobby Martinez ✵ ’13 Teaching Credential, Single-Subject Mathematics

By Karin Grennan

Bobby Martinez won a long-shot bid for Port Hueneme City Council in 2020 and became mayor in January 2023. He has successfully pushed for increased investment in parks, the addition of a homeless liaison, and higher raises than workers had negotiated for themselves. He also teaches math full time at Frontier High School, an alternative school in Camarillo, and is launching a business for an app he developed. 

But the 34-year-old CSUCI alumnus thinks he should have accomplished more by now.

“I have really high expectations, so it’s always been like it’s never really been enough for me,” said Martinez. “Something that I would be proud of is making world change.” 

Martinez’ quest for change started with the city where he has lived most of his life. Even before he ran for the council, he participated in Hueneme community cleanups and tried to get the city to fix the torn-up basketball court where he played.

The Hueneme High School graduate completed an associate degree in math and sciences at Ventura College and then left home to earn a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with an emphasis in teaching from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Wanting to return to his hometown and family, he decided to pursue his teaching credential at CSUCI.

“It’s like a small-knit community and that felt really, really good to me. I felt like I was at home,” said Martinez, who played on intramural volleyball and basketball teams while at CSUCI.

After some of his students at Frontier asked him what he would do if he was in government for a class assignment, they planted the seed that led to his running for City Council.

Port Hueneme City CouncilPort Hueneme City Council

“They liked my answers, and they started saying this chant, something like ‘Martinez for president, Martinez for president.’ And so that got me thinking, maybe I could go into politics.” 

When the COVID-19 pandemic slowed his life down, he took the plunge. Competing against two incumbents and three other candidates, he used skills he learned while making videos for CSUCI’s Center for Community Engagement to connect with voters and was the top vote-getter.

“I made 20-plus videos, and I pushed them out on YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, most of the social media platforms, and I think that helped a lot,” Martinez said.

Serving on the council has been incredibly rewarding.

“I’m learning a lot, and then at the same time I’m making a lot of positive change.”

© Winter 2023-24 / Volume 28 / Number 1 / Biannual

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