Senator Iris Y. Martinez Bio

Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez was sworn into her first term in the Illinois State Senate on January 8, 2003 to represent the people of Illinois’ 20th Legislative District. Her election marked the first time a Hispanic woman had been elected to the State Senate in Illinois history. She made history once again by serving as Assistant Majority Leader from 2007-2008, a position never before held by a Latina. Senator Martinez has used her position as a state senator to advocate for affordable housing, expanding health care access and ensuring seniors and the disabled receive proper care.

Additionally, the senator is a strong voice for Illinois’ children. Martinez has worked on initiatives to keep children safe and annually hosts a Family Wellness and Back to School Fair, where children can receive health screenings, dental checkups, immunizations and backpacks. Essential services are also available for adults.

Senator Martinez has been a tireless promoter of programs to improve the quality of education for youth in Illinois, including the Grow Your Own Teacher Initiative, an effort to place 1,000 teachers in low-income, hard-to-staff Illinois public schools by offering forgivable student loans to paraprofessionals, parents and other community leaders who wish to become teachers. She has also worked to support the Golden Apple Scholar Program, which seeks to place highly qualified teachers in the State’s hard-to-staff schools. Understanding that making higher education more affordable is crucial to strengthening the middle class, Martinez is a champion of the state’s Monetary Award Program (MAP), which helps students pay for college.

Senator Martinez’s position as the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Co-Chair has given her a platform to work on initiatives that are important to minorities. She championed a new law allowing people who are not comfortable speaking or understanding English, as well as those who have trouble hearing, to be aided by an interpreter in the court room. Another law she sponsored will ensure that all health care facilities treating Medicaid patients in managed care plans must develop and implement language services.

Senator Martinez currently serves as Chair of the Senate’s Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee. She is also a member of the Education, Energy, Gaming, Labor and Transportation Committees.

Martinez was born and raised in Chicago’s West Town community. She resides in the city’s Albany Park neighborhood and has a daughter, Jacklyn Nicole. Her district includes some of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods including Albany Park, Avondale, Belmont, Cragin, Hermosa, Humboldt Park, Logan Square and Portage Park.

Senator Iris Y. Martinez

Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez

Assistant Majority Leader
20th District

Years served:
2003 - Present
Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Education; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive; Government Accountability/Pensions (Vice-Chairperson); Transportation; Subcommittee on Gov. Operations; Pension Investments Special Com. On (Co-Chairperson); Revenue (Vice-Chairperson).

Biography: Born Feb. 25, 1956, in Chicago; earned her bachelor's degree in public policy and administration from Northeastern Illinois University in 2009; elected president of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. She is also the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Co-Chair; has one daughter.

Associated Representatives:
Jaime M. Andrade, Jr.
Will Guzzardi