Matthew Martinez is a 7th Generation Colorado Native, United States Marine Corps and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran, Adams State University Alumni and current Representative for Colorado House District 62!
Born in Monte Vista to his mother Denise, Matthew attended Monte Vista High School where he excelled in both academics and sports. In 2005, he was elected Senior Class President and graduated from high school the same year. Matthew was a talented athlete and was part of the football, wrestling, and track & field teams. He also had a passion for music and was a member of the 2004 State Champion marching band. Following graduation, Matthew chose to serve his country and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.
Matthew began his military career in 2006 when he was assigned to the infantry unit 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines (2/1), Echo Company based out of Camp Pendleton, California. He was later deployed on the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2007 and took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009. During his time with 2/1, Matthew was meritoriously promoted to the rank of Corporal and was also selected as Battalion Marine of the Quarter. He served as a Fireteam Leader and Squad Leader, and received the following awards:
Meritorious promotion to E-4/Corporal, Battalion Marine of the Quarter, Certificate of Commendation - 31st MEU, 2 Letters of Appreciation - 31st MEU, O.I.F. Navy Unit Commendation w/star, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal w/service star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/star.
Following his Honorable Discharge, Matthew enrolled at Adams State University where he became one of the founding members of the Adams State University Veterans Club/Center. He also became the first 2-term Student Body President in Adams State history, leaving a remarkable legacy. During his college years, Matthew's impressive record earned him an internship with Senator Michael Bennet in Washington D.C. in between his Junior and Senior year. He graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, which set him on a path to continue serving his community as Representative for House District 62.
Following his graduation, Matthew began his career as the Veterans and Military Affairs Coordinator at Adams State. His job primarily involved helping veterans navigate their educational benefits, and he also worked towards advocating for better medical benefits for veterans and their families. Matthew was also an advisor for the Veterans Club, where he could directly engage and support his fellow veterans.
In 2013, Matthew took his passion for serving his community to the next level and was elected to the Monte Vista City Council and became one of the youngest elected officials in the city's history. During his term, Matthew served on several committees, including the Colorado Municipal League Policy Board, Planning and Zoning Commission, Veterans Memorial Park Committee, and Recreation Department Committee. These experiences allowed him to make a significant impact on the community and gain valuable skills as a public servant.
Matthew's dedication to education and social justice led him to take the position as the Director for the Adams State University Prison College program. In this role, Matthew helped incarcerated students in Colorado and across the nation achieve their higher educational goals. He was also instrumental in securing approval for the Second Chance Pell program, which allowed incarcerated students in the State of Colorado to receive Pell Grants. Matthew's passion for teaching also led him to become an Adjunct Instructor at the University, where he could continue to make a difference in the lives of his students.
Matthew's drive for learning did not stop there. In 2020, he earned his Master of Science in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Policy from Southern New Hampshire University. With this achievement, he expanded his knowledge and expertise, which he utilizes now as your Representative!
Matthew is an active member of his community, serving in various leadership positions. Currently, he is the Vice President on the Valley Wide Health Systems Board of Directors, a position where he can directly impact healthcare services in his community. Additionally, he serves on the La Puente Home Board, an organization dedicated to assisting individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Matthew's commitment to serving his community extends to his involvement with various boards and organizations. He previously sat on the Boys and Girls Club of the San Luis Valley Board of Directors, where he could help enrich the lives of young people in his area. As the current President of the Adams State University LatinX Caucus, he advocates for the needs and interests of Latinx students on campus. Matthew is also a member of the American Legion at Home Lake, where he can engage with fellow veterans and support their needs.
Moreover, Matthew was recently elected as the Representative for Colorado House District 62. In this role, he has a unique opportunity to serve his community on a larger scale and advocate for policies that benefit his constituents. As a dedicated public servant, Matthew continues to use his skills and experiences to make a positive impact in his community and beyond.
Matthew's Awards and Commendations
2017 Adams State University Exceptional New Alumnus
2016 Hispanic Salute – Honoree
2014 Adams State University – Outstanding Club Advisor
2013 Adams State University – Student Government Leadership Award
Matthew and his wife Chelsea currently reside in Monte Vista with their 3 rescue dogs, Chico, Tiffany and Frida.