Legendary Austin musician Willie Nelson has picked his man for mayor: Former Austin firefighter and current City Council Member Mike Martinez.

He announced the endorsement on Wednesday morning in a statement released by the Martinez campaign and promoted on the singer/songwriter’s official Facebook page.

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“Austin has always been a special place to me, and I want it to be a special place for everyone — that’s why I’m supporting Mike Martinez to be Austin’s next mayor,” Willie explained.

“I’m honored to have Willie Nelson’s support,” Martinez said in a prepared statement emailed to Austin.com. “He’s a hero of mine, and something about his music has a way of uniting Texans from all walks of life.”

Martinez, who also picked up the endorsement of former Austin Mayor Will Wynn on Wednesday, is one of eight candidates running for mayor this year. All of them will square off Wednesday night in a debate that will be live-streamed online thanks to local NPR affiliate KUT, NBC affiliate KXAN-TV, The Austin Chronicle, Univision, and The Austin Monitor. You can watch it happening live right here.

As an Austin city councilman, Martinez has been a champion of raising the minimum wage, ensuring women and men are paid equally for equal work, what he calls “full-spectrum women’s healthcare,” and pushing companies in Austin to offer same sex domestic partner benefits. He’s also chairman of CapMetro’s board, and a big supporter of building more passenger rail transportation around the city.

Here’s an interview he did recently with KXAN:

For more interviews with Austin’s mayoral candidates, check out Austin.com’s totally fair, totally nonpartisan guide to the race, complete with videos featuring all the candidates who are actually campaigning. And don’t forget to vote! Election day isn’t until November 4, but early voting starts next Monday, October 20. Click here to find out where to cast your ballot.

Do you agree with Willie? Or are you voting for someone else? Let us know your thoughts on the race via Facebook or Twitter!



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