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Tekesha Martinez in Hagerstown


Tekesha Martinez, the first Black Mayor of Hagerstown, MD, is a living, homegrown American success story against all odds. Growing up as a foster child, she persevered through teen pregnancy and eventually had four daughters and a son who have, so far, given her seven grandbabies as well.


Seeking outlets after a traumatic episode in her life, Tekesha rediscovered her childhood love of poetry in her thirties. Immediately, she began performing and hosting at spoken word events, continuing to do so as an elected official. Tekesha has also worked as a trained community mediator, spending over a decade facilitating conversation through conflict and serving her hometown in a way that tangibly brings neighbors together instead of driving them apart.


In 2024, Tekesha intends to bring her fresh perspective, deep love of community, and broad experience to Congress, running for the open seat in MD’s 6th Congressional District.

Tekesha Martinez in front of the Capitol building
Pictures of Tekesha Martinez and her daughters on her fridge
A view down a street in Hagerstown, MD
Tekesha Martinez talking to a group of people
Tekesha Martinez facing the Capitol building
From Foster Care to the Mayor's Chair

Born in Hagerstown, Tekesha became part of the foster care system as her mother, Delores, faced her own mental health battles. Quickly becoming a ward of the state and with nowhere else to go, Tekesha felt stripped of all identity.

She had her first child at the age of 17 while in high school and soon left town for a maternity home in Hyattsville. At one point homeless and feeling traumatized, hurt, overlooked, and frustrated, Tekesha refused to return to Hagerstown where she felt that her options were too limited. Every system that was supposed to keep her safe ended up failing her instead.

Finding herself in her mid-twenties with five kids and little support, she decided that enough was enough. Despite the urge to retreat into her trauma, she picked up a microphone and turned her tears into spoken word poetry to show her daughters and son that there was something greater inside of them. She began ministering in poetry and hosting open mic nights to help others heal as well.

Finally able to blossom and heal on the inside, Tekesha returned to Hagerstown and cycled through employment to get by- from driving a forklift to staffing the front desk at a hotel. Still, community service called for her. While working at a community center in town, she discovered a world of opportunity in community mediation, and she dived in. Becoming a trained mediator, she began helping to resolve all sorts of disagreements, from landlord-tenant disputes to relationship troubles to neighborly quarrels.

As Tekesha's "heart" work and dedication touched more and more people in her hometown, many began writing her name in on ballots. This continued for years as her impact grew until she reached a point where she was unwilling to shirk a chance to remind her local government who they serve. Tekesha Martinez put her name on the ballot citywide for Hagerstown City Council. With no campaign and a determination to use her platform to call for accountability, transparency, and a real presence in the community from city leaders, she made it through a crowded primary. Assembling a youth-led team, she blasted through the general election and won a seat, becoming, along with one of her former mentees, the second and third Black councilmembers in the city's history.

In the middle of her term, Tekesha was unanimously appointed as the first Black Mayor of Hagerstown after the seat became vacant. Since then, she's ensured that public safety is a top priority for the city government and she works hard every day to grow the local economy by ensuring that incoming jobs are union strong and accessible through adequate education, training, and transportation.

The Next Step

Now, feeling called to the challenge by faith and a desire to elevate lost voices during turbulent times, Tekesha Martinez is running for Congress.

Bringing a fresh perspective and new voices to the table, Tekesha will play an active role in mediating our national divides. She will fight to ensure that we can control our own bodies and our own futures, without question.

But she's going to need your help. She didn't get to this point alone, and we can't move forward alone. Let's meet the moment and build a movement to show the world that no matter how much we face, how much we are ignored or cast down, we can still dream. And, further, make those dreams a reality.

Join Team Tekesha Today!

A Family Affair

Coming into the world as a Black woman in an area that buried its multicultural history deep played a huge role in how Tekesha viewed herself, her family, and her hometown. Uncovering her own past became an exercise in reestablishing the true history of Western Maryland. From her grandfather, Harold, who was heavily involved in his community, wrote to the local newspaper regularly, and himself ministered in poetry just like her, to several of her close aunts and uncles who grew up proudly displaying their gay, non-binary, and transgender identities, it was clear that her heritage was one of a long line of changemakers and trailblazers.

Tekesha's five children have, among other things, started their own local small businesses and became involved in their community as volunteers and political activists. Meanwhile, her mother, Delores, has recently graduated after pursuing a degree and intends to obtain a business license soon. Tekesha is proud of and constantly inspired by her family every day.

Tekesha Martinez and family

Tekesha and family members, including her mother, Delores (right)

Tekesha Martinez and her Aunt Tomeka

Tekesha and her loving Aunt Tomeka.

Tekesha Martinez's Uncle Jasper and Grandfather Harold

Tekesha's Uncle Jasper and Grandfather Harold.

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