Yesterday EMILY’s List, an organization focused on supporting women running for and serving in elected office, announced that Madison Alder Arvina Martin, who became the first Native American elected to the Madison Common Council in 2017, is a nominee for the sixth annual Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award.
The winner will be chosen with community input. Online voting is open now at this link. The deadline to vote is Friday, Febuary 15 at 4 pm Central Standard Time.
“Even before she became a trailblazer on the Madison City Council, Arvina Martin was dedicated to serving her community,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, in a statement. “She is working hard to make sure all voices and viewpoints, especially those of her fellow Ho-Chunk Nation members and other Native Americans, are heard by lawmakers. She believes that protecting voting rights and ensuring everyone can participate in democracy are fundamental pillars of a government that serves the people. Arvina is a strong advocate with a bright future and we are pleased to nominate her for the Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award.”
In an interview Monday, Martin said she’s not even sure how she got nominated. She was just trying to keep her kids entertained on one of the many recent snow days when she got a call from a number she didn’t know — so she didn’t answer.
“When I listened to the voicemail I heard that it was Stephanie Schriock, who is the head of EMILY’s List. And I thought, oh, okay, well, this is a robo-call asking for money. And then I heard my name and I was, ‘Why is she calling me?’ So then I called her back and was absolutely dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say. Apparently, somebody who works for EMILY’s List in the Midwest had nominated me, and then I was selected to be one of the finalists.”
Martin joins five other women as finalists, all of them state legislators: Wendy Carrillo of California, Jennifer Carroll Foy of Virginia, Margaret Good of Florida, Sandra Jauregui of Nevada and Yuh-Line Niou of New York.
“They are all amazing, extremely impressive women from across the country,” Martin said. “They’re all doing incredible things. It blows my mind to be mentioned in the same breath as them.”
In a press release, EMILY’s List pointed to Martin’s work to increase diversity at the University of Wisconsin, protect unionized workers, and protect voting rights during the 2016 elections. Martin has also acted as a representative for the Ho-Chunk Nation, of which EMILY’s List-endorsed Congresswoman Sharice Davids (KS-03) is also a member, in both political campaigns and state government. Martin also ran for Secretary of State against 40-year incumbent Douglas La Follette, earning 34 percent of the vote in a Democratic primary.
Named in honor of the dedicated and courageous Gabrielle Giffords, the Rising Star Award celebrates an extraordinary woman serving in state or local office. The award honors a woman who demonstrates the sort of commitment to community, dedication to women and families, and determination and civility that have been the highlights of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ career, in and out of office. Previous Rising Star Award recipients include Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in 2014, Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley in 2015, Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran in 2016, Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym in 2017, and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in 2018.