Roy Martin announces 10th run for mayor
|Published: 05-16-2021 6:33 PM
NORTHAMPTON — When Roy Martin announced he was running for mayor in 2017, it was his ninth — and at the time he said his last — bid for the corner office at City Hall.
His name never made it onto the ballot that year. But this spring, he took out nomination papers and has announced his 10th run for mayor, becoming the fifth person seeking the job.
“I’m not retired from politics,” Martin, 78, said with a laugh. This time around, he said, “I’ve got a different feeling. I’ve got a different outlook.”
The Conz Street resident has been president of the Walter Salvo Tenants Association and cited issues like homelessness and the downtown economy as those he would address as mayor.
All nine of Martin’s previous bids for mayor were unsuccessful.
“It’s become like a hobby,” Martin told a Gazette reporter in 2005 when asked about his election campaigns.
Martin is retired, and previously held various jobs, including fishing, working on an oil rig and running a pet supply business. He said he’s been married seven times and has 21 children.
His long-running pursuit of the mayor’s office started in the ’90s when he ran against former mayor Mary Ford. Martin said it was Ford who encouraged him to run for public office in the first place.
One of his city priorities: “What are we going to do about the homeless? They are on the streets,” Martin said. “What I want to do is start some sort of program like Bill Nagle’s Honor Court.” That former program helped those who use drugs recover and put them to work cleaning the city.
The program helped Martin, he said. “I got sober here in Northampton. I got sober here partly through Bill Nagle’s Honor Court.” Martin was previously homeless in Northampton. “I was living in a pickup truck,” he said.
As a longtime resident, Martin said he has a deep knowledge of the city. “These newcomers don’t know Jerry Budgar,” he said, referring to the well-known Ward 3 resident who died in 2019.
He also wants people to better understand the city’s history.
“They don’t know the history of Salvo House,” Martin said of the housing authority property on Conz Street where he lives. “If you don’t know the history, you don’t know what the problems are.”
He said he is against Proposition 2½ overrides, city votes that allow the government to raise property taxes by more than 2.5%. “Every time you turn around, they need an override,” he said with a scoff. Voters last approved overrides in 2013 and 2019.
Martin also said he wants to strengthen downtown and make sure businesses pay their employees at least $15 per hour, which will be the minimum wage in 2023.
Free downtown parking on Saturdays could bring more people into the city, he said. “A lot of people are getting tickets on Saturday afternoon,” he said.
“Anything I do would be up to the business people and the people of the city of Northampton,” he said. “I want the input from the people. I want them to tell me. If they elect me … they are my bosses.”
Martin is one of five people who have taken out papers to run for mayor after Mayor David Narkewicz announced he won’t seek reelection. The others include City Council President Gina-Louise Sciarra, social worker Shanna Fishel, engineer Jared Greenberg and social worker Rosechana Gordon.
Nomination papers are due to the City Clerk by Aug. 13. If three or more candidates for mayor turn in completed papers, it would trigger a preliminary election on Sept. 28.
Greta Jochem can be reached at email@example.com.