Kathleen Martinez was nominated by Barack Obama as the Department of Labor's Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy, being confirmed by the Senate on the 25th of June, 2009.
Martinez career as a leader of disability rights in the areas of employment disability rights, independent living, as well as diversity and gender issues are among the qualifications brought to the table. Martinez has experienced, first hand, disability as she has been blind since her birth. In addition to her own disability, Martinez has worked as an organizer of the women's movement in the 1970's.
In 2005, Martinez was promoted to executive director of the World Institute on Disability. She also led the International Leadership Forum for Women with Disabilities located in Washington, D.C. She has been a member of the National Council on Disability which is the committee advising the State Department.