The City Council Tuesday unanimously elected Nury Martinez to a second year as its president, as she acknowledged her first 365 days were some of the “most challenging” times in Los Angeles history.

“Every day, we are confronted with the painful truth that many of our fellow Angelenos are hurting,” Martinez said. “COVID has brought us so much loss. Angelenos have lost their jobs, their businesses, family members and some have lost all hope. I thank my colleagues for their vote of confidence in me, but more importantly for supporting our efforts to put families first and restore hope for our fellow Angelenos.”

Martinez made history last December when she was the first Latina to be elected council president. When she was first elected, she said that as the daughter of Mexican immigrants, as the daughter of the working poor, the City Council would focus on a “Families First” agenda and prioritize assisting the most vulnerable populations in Los Angeles.

“We prioritized helping the working poor, our essential workers, communities of color, moms struggling to work in need of child care,” Martinez said. “While we’ve done a lot, we need substantially more federal and state assistance now or risk catastrophic outcomes for our constituents. We go into this holiday season thinking about those who are struggling and remembering them in the work that we do and will continue to do.”

As council president, Martinez created the Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Recovery and Neighborhood Investment to get funding and resources for vulnerable communities.

At Tuesday’s meeting, she thanked the council for introducing policies as quickly as possible to prevent evictions, protect workers with paid family leave and provide more than $430 million in relief for low-income renters, working moms with childcare, helping Angelenos pay their bills, shelter for the unhoused, and free grants for small businesses.

Martinez previously served as assistant president pro tempore and president pro tempore beginning in 2017 and 2018, respectively, under then-Council President Herb Wesson.

Martinez grew up in the Northeast San Fernando Valley, and is only the second woman ever elected to serve as City Council President. Until Martinez, Councilwoman Pat Russell was the first and only woman elected by her peers to the title of Los Angeles city council president in 1983.

The Council also voted to appoint Councilmember Joe Buscaino, to continue serving as council president pro tempore in the New Year alongside Martinez.

Martinez will appoint a new assistant council president pro tempore at a later date.

Martinez said she will outline her effort to continue to push for programs and assistance for vulnerable residents as well as her goals for the year at the Jan. 12 council meeting.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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