First Latino Judge in E. Washington Sworn-In

<p>Salvador Mendoza Jr.</p>

Salvador Mendoza Jr.

The first Latino judge in Eastern Washington and only the third Latino judge in the state, Salvador Mendoza Jr., is sworn into the bench today in Benton County Superior Court.

Mendoza will serve as Superior Court Judge for both Benton and Franklin Countis.

At today's swearing in ceremony, Mendoza's mother placed the robe on the newly seated judge.

Later, when he spoke to the court, he had tears in his eyes.

He was raised in a family of migrant farm workers and says he worked in the fields up to and all through Prosser High School.

Mendoza got his Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy from the University of Washington, then his law degree from the University of California -- followed by 16 years of practicing law.

He will be the only Latino Superior, District or Municipal Court Judge serving in Eastern Washington.

Mendoza replaces Judge Craig Matheson, who is retiring after 26 years of service.

Now, to keep his seat, Mendoza must run in this year's November election.