Mark Martello

Mark Martello
Candidate For Assembly District 35

Mark Martello

Candidate Background


N10994 Spring Creek Dr., Tomahawk, Wisconsin

Email Address: 

Candidate Biography

From candidate's Facebook page

My name is Mark Martello. I was raised in Tomahawk and graduated from Tomahawk High School. In high school I was in sports pretty much the whole school year; football in the fall, wrestling in the winter, and track in the spring. Before each competition they played the National Anthem. I remember the feeling that gave me, a combination of pride and love for our country. I was always so charged up after the anthem was played. That was a big part of why I joined the Navy on the delayed entry program while I was still in high school.

I went on active duty in July, shortly after graduation. I was trained in submarine weapons systems in Connecticut and California then stationed on a submarine out of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii for four and a half years. That was where I first learned to take that love for this country and turn it into service and leadership. I left the Navy after 6 years of active duty to pursue an education.

I returned to Central Wisconsin and started college at UWMC. I lived in Merrill then, and that’s when I met the love of my life, my wonderful wife Kelly. Merrill is also where I joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard. I missed serving in uniform and the Merrill National Guard unit made the most sense. I attended the Wisconsin Military Academy and earned a commission. I became an Armor Officer and served in the Antigo unit for 5 years as a Platoon Leader.

When I started school, it was my intention to continue to serve my community as a teacher. But, I took "Intro to Psych" and fell in love with the subject. I transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to finish my bachelor of science in psychology then transferred to the University of Minnesota for graduate school in social work. I earned my master of social work (MSW) in 1995. As I was getting closer to graduation, I was doing a lot of thinking about how I could continue to serve. Kelly and I decided to return to active duty, this time in the Air Force.

For almost 15 more years I was able to serve in progressively higher levels of Air Force medical leadership and live and travel all over the world. In 2007-2008 I was called to serve in Bagdad, Iraq as the chief of mental health at Sather Air Base. My final position was working in the Air Force Medical Operations Agency, where I provided oversight and guidance to outpatient mental health clinics and substance abuse clinics at 74 Air Force hospitals and clinics worldwide. Then at the end of 2009 it was time to retire and return home.

We returned to Tomahawk in January of 2010. I was able to continue to serve as a psychotherapist in the VA treating the heroes that walk among us for PTSD and depression. I worked in Wausau for a little over a year then transferred to Rhinelander. After so many years of moving all over the world, staying in one place was a challenge. But we joined a local church, enrolled our daughter in the school system I graduated from, and Kelly even got a job there, working with children with special needs. In 2015 the wander-lust overtook us again and I accepted a position as a civilian employee of the Army at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. But after a year we realized why we had moved home in the first place; We love north-central Wisconsin. We moved back in the fall of 2016.

The fall of 2016. A lot changed in the fall of 2016. I had always been interested in politics. I had spent my entire adult life serving my community and my country and politicians had a lot to do with how I was able to do my job. I had almost always voted. But after November of 2016, I felt this incredible need to do something more. The quote, "All it takes for evil to succeed is for all good men to do nothing," kept running through my head. I joined the Lincoln County Democratic Party and Citizen Action of Wisconsin. I became a member of the steering committee of the Citizen Action North Central Organizing Cooperative. Then, one evening at a Lincoln County Dem meeting I learned that the person who was going to run for the state Assembly in the 35th district wasn't going to be able to run for personal reasons.

I knew then that serving in the Wisconsin state Assembly was what I need to do. But, I was a federal employee and federal employees can’t run for partisan offices. And I wasn’t licensed to practice social work in Wisconsin (federal employees just need to be licensed in any US state). So, I had a lot of work cut out for me. I had to get a Wisconsin LCSW and I had to find a new job. It took a few months, but I am now a Wisconsin-licensed clinical social worker, and I am no longer a federal employee. I still serve our local community, now working for a tri-county agency seeing our neighbors in Merrill and Tomahawk.