Arvina Martin has devoted her life to advocating for Wisconsin families.
An enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, Arvina was born and raised in Madison, where her father, a retired public servant who served in the administrations of President George H.W. Bush and Gov. Tommy Thompson, and mother, a former Ho-Chunk legislator who has worked in health and education, instilled in Arvina a deep appreciation for the Wisconsin Idea.
After graduating from Dartmouth College with a degree in Native American studies, and a particular focus on public policy analysis, Arvina returned to Madison, where she began her career in public service. As an admissions advisor at the University of Wisconsin, Arvina worked for several years to recruit a more diverse student body and expand opportunities for students of color.
Arvina then took time to begin her most important job — mom. Her daughter is now 9 years old and attends the same public school that Arvina and her sister attended as kids.
In motherhood, Arvina found an even deeper passion to serve her community and advocate for fairness and opportunity for all. That passion led her into politics, where she became involved with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin during the historic Wisconsin uprising over Scott Walker’s anti-union Act 10 legislation, and then worked as the Native American Vote director on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. Following the Obama campaign, Arvina served as the Chief Communications Officer for the Ho-Chunk Nation legislature and worked on the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s 2016 voter protection team, before returning to state government as a statewide tribal liaison and policy analyst for the Department of Transportation.
Arvina currently represents Madison’s 11th aldermanic district and is the first Native American woman to be elected to the Madison City Council. She remains a strong advocate within the Democratic Party, particularly on addressing racial disparities and protecting the voting rights of all Americans.