VIDEO: EASTERN WASHINGTON: Murray Introduces E. Washington’s First Latino Federal Judicial Nominee

Mar 12 2014

A former intern for Senator Murray, Judge Salvador Mendonza Jr. now set to break historic racial barrier in Eastern Washington

Murray: “Judge Mendoza’s incredible life story, from growing up as a migrant farm worker in the Yakima Valley to becoming the President’s nominee for the United States District Court is something all Washingtonians can be proud of”

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(Washington, D.C.)— Today, Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) attended a Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr. to become the first Latino United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Washington.  Senator Murray introduced Judge Mendoza at the hearing.  Currently a judge on the Superior Court for Benton and Franklin Counties, Judge Mendoza is widely respected within the state’s legal community, and has dedicated much of his personal and professional life working on behalf of children and families throughout Eastern Washington.  Early in his career, Judge Mendoza worked briefly as an intern for Senator Murray.

The Eastern District of Washington includes the following counties: Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman, Yakima.

The full text of Senator Murray’s remarks below:

“Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, members of the committee, it is my privilege to introduce Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr., who has been nominated by the President to be the next United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Washington.

“I want to welcome Judge Mendoza, his wife, Mia, his mother, Maria, and his long-time legal assistant, Monica, who have traveled out here to what we call the “other Washington.”

“And I’d like to especially welcome his mother, Maria, who is visiting our nation’s capital for the first time to witness her son testify before this Committee as a nominee of the President of the United States. 

“Maria, I know how proud you must be, and we are honored to have you with us. 

“Mr. Chairman, it’s not every day that I get to introduce a nominee who also happens to be a former intern in my office and it’s also not every day that a man who is the son of migrant farm workers and himself worked on farms in the Yakima Valley, is called on by the President to become the first Latino federal judge in the Eastern District of Washington. 

“So, as a Senator from Washington state, I’m incredibly proud to introduce him to the committee today because, through his life story, Judge Mendoza represents the very best of our state’s honest, hardworking spirit.

“Mr. Chairman, through his work ethic, his commitment to his community,  and his belief in equal opportunity, Judge Mendoza is a leader and a role model for families throughout our state – and particularly young men and women born into poverty and difficult circumstances.

“In fact, in his application to serve as federal judge, he discussed his own upbringing:  “I worked and studied hard to better myself and my family.  I understood then what I believe now, that both the quality of the educational system coupled with a strong system of justice will lift up the entire community.”

“Mr. Chairman, I could not agree more.  And it will come as no surprise that throughout his professional life, Judge Mendoza has stayed true to those words.  From serving as trustee for Columbia Basin College,  to helping to coordinate the annual Tri-Cities Youth and Justice Conference, to helping to create the first drug court for Benton and Franklin counties...Judge Mendoza has given his time and experience, investing in institutions that each and every day lift up communities throughout our state.

“He is currently a superior court judge, but his judicial career spans private practice, service as an assistant attorney general, and years of experience in superior, district, municipal, and juvenile court. 

“He is an experienced practitioner in federal court and served from 2010 to 2013 as lawyer representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. 

“And through his many years of legal practice and judicial experience, Judge Mendoza will come to the federal bench well prepared.

“He has described his judicial philosophy as guided by the principles of patience, respect and humility--the same principles that have guided his life and legal career--and principles that will serve him well as a member of the federal judiciary.

“So, let me close by thanking Judge Mendoza for his willingness to serve Washington State as a federal judge. 

‘I have said time and again that as a country, we are at our best when good people are willing to give of themselves in service to others. 

“It is service to others that has defined Judge Mendoza throughout his career, and that will continue to define him as he assumes the duties of this new office. 

“I am proud to support his nomination to be United States District Judge.

“Thank you.”