Senate hearing on Eastern Washington federal judge

<p>Salvador Mendoza, Jr.</p>

Salvador Mendoza, Jr.

KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) -- A Benton-Franklin Superior Court judge could become the first Latino federal judge for the Eastern Washington district.

Salvador Mendoza Jr. of Kennewick was introduced by Sen. Patty Murray at Wednesday's Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C.

She noted he once worked for her as an intern and said she's proud of his life story. Mendoza is the son of migrant farm workers and worked himself on Yakima Valley farms.

Mendoza graduated from Prosser High School, the University of Washington and the law school at UCLA. His work as a lawyer includes a year as an assistant attorney general and a year as a deputy prosecutor in Franklin County.

The Eastern Washington federal district covers 20 counties east of the Cascades. It has courthouses in Spokane, Yakima and Richland.