Sparks Mayor Martini, Living With Parkinson's, Staying On The Job

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SPARKS, NV - Sparks Mayor Geno Martini says he's been living with Parkinson's Disease for the past four years. Friday, he made it public.

It was, he said, time.

"I'm starting to get a little weaker," says Martini. "I have to use a walker now every once in awhile, not all the time, but sometimes. And I have to explain that and I got tired of explaining things like that. So, I said let's just get it out into the open and if someone sees me with a walker, they know what's going on. I have Parkinson's."

It was as simple as that, he says. He wanted to answer any questions and end any speculation before it began.

The 72-year-old Sparks native has been mayor for a decade, helping guide it through a period he says held some proud, but difficult moments.

"I came in when everything was going great, then went straight down into that abyss that we all know about," he says. "I think I'm proud of the city sticking in there. We made most of the right moves, the tough moves. Laying people off, not giving raises for four or five years. Those were difficult things to do. We got through that part and now we're hiring people back."

Parkinson's is a progressive neurological disorder which can cause tremors like those he says his father suffered. Martini doesn't show those symptoms, but says his legs are getting weaker. Still...

"As long as I can physically get to work and to meetings, I think my brain is going to be fine."

With three more years to go in this term, the mayor says he'd like to see some projects through to conclusion. Further development of the downtown, the Southeast Connector and increased flood protection.

I can't think of any job that I'd rather be doing right now. It's the last job I've every going to; have in my life, is the mayor of sparks I'm having fun. I get to work with people. I get to see the town grow. We're doing good stuff. To me it's wonderful."