Gov. Inslee Swears in Salvador Mendoza as Superior Court Judge - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Gov. Inslee Swears in Salvador Mendoza as Superior Court Judge

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- Governor Jay Inslee made a stop in the Tri-Cities Monday to swear in the area's newest Superior Court judge, Salvador Mendoza.

Governor Inslee swore in Mendoza Monday at the Benton County Justice Center. He will replace retiring Superior Court judge Craig Matheson.

Inslee described Mendoza as the right man for the job because of his extensive legal background and community involvement.

Mendoza is the first Latino judge in the Benton and Franklin County court system and the only Latino superior, district or municipal court judge in all of eastern Washington.

Mendoza is a long-time attorney in the area, and he also helped start the juvenile drug court program.

"He's been involved in this community for so many years and in so many ways and bringing particular talent to the bench. I've got to tell you I've never seen a community coalesce around I candidate like this," Governor Inslee said.

Mendoza worked his way from a migrant family of farm workers, growing up in Prosser, to now becoming a superior court judge.

He shared emotional remarks in Spanish to his many friends and family that came to the swearing in ceremony.

Judge Carrie Runge presided over Monday's ceremony and commented on the fact that Mendoza's appointment will help the court better reflect the cultural makeup of our community to best serve our judicial system.