But she never dreamed that she would be asked by Mayor David Delle Donna to run on his ticket for a seat on the Township Council in the upcoming Democratic municipal primary June 3.
"I was truly honored," said Martinez, who has been selected to replace Councilman John Schwartz, who has decided not to seek re-election. "I can't even express how I felt. I was in awe when Mayor Delle Donna asked me. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to run for office. I thought I would end my career as an educator and go quietly into the night and disappear."
Martinez will join Delle Donna and incumbent councilmen Javier Inclan and Gerald Drasheff on the June 3 ballot.
No other Democrat filed to run in the election, which means that Delle Donna will become the first mayor to run unopposed in a Guttenberg Democratic primary since 1989.
In addition, no Republicans have filed for the primary, so Delle Donna won't face any Republican opposition in November. The only opposition he may face could be from independents, who have until the day of the primary, June 3, to file.
"It's always nice not to have an opponent on the other side," Delle Donna said. "I think some of it has to do with the job we've done. We've been able to pull things around and stabilize taxes on the municipal and school levels. I don't know what it's like to run unopposed. I think people are pretty happy with the way things are going and want to keep it that way."
Delle Donna said that it was a no-brainer in selecting Martinez to replace Schwartz.
"We like the effort that Adela has put in to help the community," Delle Donna said. "She carries herself well. We were also looking for more Hispanic representation and another woman. Adela has done a lot of good work on the school board and for the Housing Authority. We need people who are willing to put the time and effort in."
Delle Donna said that Martinez also offers stability to a council that has endured a huge turnover over the last two years, with two council members resigning for different reasons and another two choosing not to seek re-election.
"She's very stable in the community and plans to stay around for a while," Delle Donna said. "We're looking for stability after the turnover we've had."
Jennifer Credidio and Tom Barnes were elected to the council last November and took the oath of office in January. Inclan and Drasheff won re-election two years ago (and are running again) when former councilman Delle Donna won the mayoral race.
Martinez would be the final piece to a stable Town Council.
"It's such a good community," said Martinez, a widowed mother of three children who said she recently earned her "official senior citizen card."
"I plan to serve with dignity and integrity," Martinez said. "Guttenberg is a quiet, safe community, and it's such a good community to live in. I will do everything I can to preserve its peace and safety."
Still could be competition
Martinez said that she looks forward to the opportunity to work with the council on getting the new Anna L. Klein School Annex built and operational as soon as possible. She would also like to institute new computer and technology classes for seniors.
"I know that this administration can do a lot of things," Martinez said. "They go all out for the people. I've been around the block and I've seen my share of administrations come and go. This is a good group to be associated with."
While no official candidates have stepped forward to challenge Delle Donna and his ticket for the primary in June, the mayor is convinced that there will be some competition for the general election in November.
"I fully well expect someone to run as an independent in November," Delle Donna said. "I'm almost certain someone will run. There's always someone out there that will want to run against us. Since there's no one in the primary, that doesn't mean that there won't be someone in November. You never know. I've been trying to get all the factions in the town together. The town would be much better off without turmoil. Who knows what will happen? If we do have opposition in November, we will run on our record."
Martinez said that she has begun campaigning, even without an opponent.
"I definitely have been out there, talking to people," Martinez said. "I like to be active. If I wasn't active, I would just wither away."
Chances are that Adela Martinez isn't about to go away any time soon.