Listen to the interview
Judge Jimmy Martínez was born in 1942 and raised in Bee County. He was the first in his family to attend school and graduated from high school in 1962. He attended Del Mar Junior College and obtained his real estate license. He was elected to the Beeville City Council in 1970 and served in that role for 9 years. He also served as director of the local Head Start Program and was elected to the Bee County Commissioners Court in 1984. At the time of the interview, he had recently been appointed County Judge in Bee County, and was later elected to that position.
Judge Jimmy Martínez begins the interview with details about his early life in Bee County, his business enterprises, and his encounters with racial discrimination. He discusses his growing interest in Bee County politics and his membership in the local Jaycees. He reveals the political turmoil that ensued in Beeville after his election to the city council, including threats from former county sheriff Robert Vail Ennis, and tells about the appointment of Humberto Saenz as Beeville's first Hispanic mayor. He assails the local newspaper for its heavy bias aimed at discrediting Hispanic candidates for election. He notes the assistance of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in equalizing voter representation in Bee County. He attributes his success on the Bee County Commissioners Court to Carlos Truán, discusses campaign strategies and funding, and details his accomplishments in office. He talks at length about his work with Jake Kinbolough on the Bee County Commissioners Court and his subsequent appointment as County Judge by Kinbolough. Judge Martínez refers to his involvement in his daughter's election to the city council of Mathis, Texas and talks about that city's first Hispanic mayor, Melchor Chavez. He explains Joe Moron's battle with the tax authorities in Bee County, details Bernie Sandoval's financial struggles and boycotts, and compares his own governing philosophy with that of his Mexican American contemporaries, Adán V. Gonzales and Mike Muñoz.
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