In the 1970s, Martha's plans to go to college were upended when she became pregnant. As a young, single mother, she worked multiple jobs to support her daughter, supplementing her income with public assistance. While working as a nursing assistant, she attended tech college part-time, eventually becoming a registered nurse.
As she raised her daughter, Martha frequently worked multiple jobs – as an inpatient nurse, as a nursing home supervisor on the weekends, and later as a home healthcare nurse.
After over a decade of hard work multitasking, Martha desired to be an agent of even greater positive change; she applied and was accepted to Marquette law school.
After graduating from Law school, Martha worked in private practice for a number of years. But, as Minneapolis began to feel the impacts of a surge in violent crime, Martha decided she could do more to help her community.
Martha was hired by Amy Klobuchar and appointed to serve as the first North Minneapolis Community Prosecutor. In this role, she collaborated with the police, neighborhood associations, faith-based groups, and residents of the fourth precinct to improve public safety. Her community prosecution work was so successful at bringing the juvenile crime rate down that this effort won a national award.
In 2009, Martha was hired as the Deputy City Attorney in Minneapolis. There she managed over 60 attorneys and staff in the criminal division.
Then in 2012, Martha was appointed to the bench by Mark Dayton, serving as a serious crimes judge in the 4th Judicial District. Martha made daily decisions that impacted the lives of victims, families, and communities, making it one of the most challenging but fulfilling experiences in her legal career.
Throughout her life, Martha has made an unwavering commitment to giving back to her community. Whether teaching young lawyers, working with community organizations, or simply hosting an ice cream social for the kids in her neighborhood, Martha is always looking for a way to make a difference in her County.
In 2020, George Floyd was murdered and Martha began experiencing weekly shootings in her north Minneapolis neighborhood. She struggled with how the criminal justice system was failing our communities. Martha wanted to do more, but her ability to take widespread, meaningful action was limited by her role on the bench. This was the turning point that motivated her to run for Hennepin County Attorney, and after much thought, she retired from her role as a judge and began developing her plan for Hennepin County.