In the Sept. 13 primary, the race for judge of the Surrogate’s Court in Manhattan will be on the ballot.
Two candidates, Rita Mella and Barbara Jaffe, are vying for the top position in this court that decides cases involving wills, estates, adoptions and guardianships.
We strongly back Rita Mella.
Mella -an immigrant from Dominican Republic who came to the U.S. at 22 and studied law at CUNY- has had a rising career in various courts, including civil, family and criminal.
Mella would become the first Hispanic to hold this judgeship in Manhattan. Having an experienced Latina in this position could help expand the reach of this major court, which Hispanics now rarely turn to.
Sensitive to the needs of an increasingly diverse city, Mella is running for this position with a plan to train more attorneys to work in this court. At the same time, she wants to educate Hispanics and others in the borough about what the court does.
Since these courts only hold elections when there are vacancies, and terms last 14 years, many voters might disregard them. This could be the case during this primary, where a low turnout is expected because it will be held on a Thursday and only a few state legislative offices are on the ballot.
But Hispanics should grab every opportunity to increase our participation and political representation and usher in leaders who will do right by our city. On Sept. 13, make your voice heard and vote for Rita Mella.