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(Washington, D.C.) -- Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) continued her efforts to confirm Ricardo Martinez as a U.S. District Court Judge for Western Washington. Martinez is currently a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Seattle. If confirmed by the Senate, he would become the first Latino district judge in Washington state’s history.



Last year, Murray worked with Senator Cantwell and President Bush to select Judge Martinez for nomination. Today, Murray introduced him before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will consider his nomination.



“His fairness, thoughtfulness and compassion set a great example for so many people in our state, and I am proud to support his confirmation before the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Murray told the Committee as Martinez and his family watched in the hearing room.



She told the committee about Martinez’s journey from his childhood harvesting strawberries with his family in the Skagit Valley to becoming a leading judicial figure in Washington state. Her full remarks are included below.



Next Steps - The Senate Judiciary Committee must approve Judge Martinez’s confirmation and send it to the Senate floor for a vote. Murray will continue to push for Martinez’s confirmation every step of the way.



Senator Murray’s remarks follow:



“Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. Forty-eight years ago, a young boy was picking strawberries on a Washington state farm for 75 cents an hour. Today that man stands before the United States Senate – after more than 20 years of distinguished legal service – ready to be confirmed as the next U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington state.



His name is Ricardo Martinez, and I am here today to offer my full support for his speedy confirmation. He would be the first Latino to serve as a district court judge in Washington state’s history.



Senator Cantwell and I worked with President Bush to select Judge Martinez from a list of very qualified candidates, and today I am proud to introduce him before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I want to especially welcome his family to the Senate today – his wife Margaret and their three daughters Lela, Jessica, and Gabriela. I know that you’re very proud of your dad today, and I know that back in Washington state there are many people who’ve worked with him over the years who share your pride.



Mr. Chairman, I’ve met with Judge Martinez, and I’ve been impressed by his professionalism, his decency and his experience. It’s no wonder that he has the strong support of a wide group of attorneys and community leaders throughout Washington state.



There are many things I could say about Judge Martinez. I could tell you about his education – that he was the first in his family to go to high school, and that he earned undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Washington.



I could tell you about his distinguished legal career including his 10 years as a prosecutor for King County and his more than 8 years as a King County Superior Court judge. I could tell you about his current work as a Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Washington, a position he’s held for five years.



I could tell you about his innovative and thoughtful work helping people break their addiction to drugs and crime. Judge Martinez helped create the first Drug Diversion Court in the state of Washington and served as one of its first judges. This innovative court gives drug-addicted defendants an alternative to incarceration, and it’s helped graduates kick their habits and lead productive lives. For years, Judge Martinez worked tirelessly to ensure the success of this treatment option.



I could tell you about his generous sense of community service – from his work on the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines Commission, and the Minority and Justice Commission, to coaching soccer and basketball for the Redmond Kirkland Boys and Girls Club.



I could tell you about all of those things, but instead I’d like to share with you something that Judge Martinez himself said to the Seattle Times in August. He told the paper,



“I’ve always considered myself extremely lucky. I was driving through Snohomish County the other day, and I saw some migrant farm workers along the road, and I said to myself, you know, I’m not far removed from them.”



Judge Martinez has been lucky, but he has also made his own luck by working hard and giving back to our state. He has earned everything that has come his way, and I believe he’s earned a seat as our next District Court judge. His fairness, thoughtfulness and compassion set a great example for so many people in our state, and I am proud to support his confirmation before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Thank you Mr. Chairman.”