After nearly 20 years of service to the people of Santa Cruz County, I have decided that I will not seek re-election for Superior Court Judge, Division 2. It has been a great honor to serve my community and to be the first woman elected to this position.
Law has always been my interest and passion, and I have been lucky enough to call it a career. When I first ran for office in 2000, it was a difficult choice and one that I did not take lightly. I wanted my community and my children to see that for change to occur, we sometimes must step forward ourselves to be its catalyst. I hope I have contributed to that goal. There is still more to be done and the glass ceiling still is not shattered for the women of our community. But I hope my time as judge serves as a stepping stone for other women to build on.
In my years as Superior Court Judge, I have had the privilege of working on the Commission on Victims in the Court, which advises the Arizona Judicial Council and makes recommendations and procedures to improve victim access and ensure fair treatment during their involvement in the criminal justice system; the Juvenile Task Force, a committee formed to make recommendations on juvenile law reform to the Governor of Arizona; and We the People Program, a mock trial program for students.
In addition, Project Safe, which seeks the prevention of recidivism of drug offenders, is a program in our courts that I am proud of having had a part in establishing. My position has also given me the opportunity to speak at the Arizona Women Lawyers Association’s State Convention, the annual conference of the Arizona Association of Family Conciliation Court and the American Bar Association Annual Conference, and to participate at the National Association of Latino Elected Leaders.
Perhaps my proudest accomplishment as judge has been mentoring high school students who have volunteered their time in our court system. What started off on an ad hoc basis, over time, has turned into a permanent program with the court. Today, it provides students from across the county the opportunity to work with the courts, earn money and get help on their senior projects. It has been a source of pride and honor to see students from our community graduate from high school and go on to pursue and accomplish a wide variety of goals.
While this is not the end of my career, it is the beginning of a new chapter. I promise to finish my term with the same vigor and sense of responsibility as my first day in office.
In closing, to the community of Santa Cruz County, thank you for your trust and the opportunity to serve as your judge. It has been a wonderful experience and I will remain forever grateful for the confidence you have shown in me. My special thanks to Jessica Lopez and Norma De La Ossa, who have served as my judicial assistants. To the courthouse staff, thank you for the support you have given me throughout the years and for all the good work you do for our community.
Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year.