Loganville Mayor Rey Martinez to run for state House seat

Georgia’s first Latino mayor hopes to take his experience in local government to the state House of Representatives.

Rey Martinez, who took office as mayor of Loganville in 2018, will run as a Republican for the Georgia House District 114 seat. State Rep. Tom Kirby, R-Loganville, has held the seat for nearly a decade but will not seek reelection after his term ends in 2022.

“I want to be the best that I can, like what I’ve done in Loganville here for the last 11 years, and what I try to bring is my energy, my passion (and) my love of service,” Martinez said. “What I’ll try to bring is unity and what’s best for our community, country and state.”

Prior to serving as mayor, Martinez served nearly two terms as a councilmember for Loganville, a city split between Gwinnett and Walton counties.

Born in Puerto Rico to parents of Cuban descent, Martinez supported former President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign, leading the Georgia Hispanics for Trump Coalition. He recently stood behind Gov. Brian Kemp, literally, at an April press conference concerning the state’s new voting law.

Martinez will finish his term as mayor in January 2022. He will officially be able to qualify for the state election in March 2022, with the primary taking place in May and the general election in November. If he wins, he would take office in January 2023.

If elected, Martinez said he would lean on other representatives to learn the ropes of serving in the state House. While he has a core set of beliefs, he said he would be willing to listen to his colleagues on the other side of the aisle.

The 114th district encompasses parts of Barrow, Gwinnett, Rockdale and Walton counties, including unincorporated and incorporated Loganville. As of now, no one else has announced their intention to run for the seat, Martinez said.

In a Facebook post, Kirby announced last week that he will not seek reelection in 2022. He wrote that he went ahead and made the decision to allow those interested in running to have enough time to “fully consider the responsibilities of being a part-time legislator and full-time representative for the people.”

Martinez echoed these sentiments, saying he went ahead and announced his run for state House to give adequate consideration time to anyone thinking about making a bid to serve as Loganville’s next mayor.

Kirby will continue to involve himself in politics, he said. But despite rumors, he will not run for the 10th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, nor will he seek office as Georgia’s labor commissioner, his Facebook post said.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution placed a call to Kirby for further comment, but he did not respond by the time of publication