WBEZ | Jesse Reyes http://www.wbez.org/tags/jesse-reyes Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois Appellate Court welcomes first elected Latino Justice http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-appellate-court-welcomes-first-elected-latino-justice-104175 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Justice Reyes.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.26012183292489943">The Illinois Appellate Court welcomed its first ever Latino elected to the bench this week.</span><br /><br />Jesse Reyes won a seat to the Illinois Appellate Court last March after serving more than a decade as a Cook County Circuit Court Judge. He was sworn in Monday afternoon in Chicago.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m so proud of the opportunity that I have been given by the voters to serve as Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court,&rdquo; Reyes said. &ldquo;And I&rsquo;m going to work my hardest to make all of them proud of me.&rdquo;<br /><br />In 2008, Reyes served as the first Latino president of the Illinois Judges Association and became the first Latino to win a county-wide judicial election in Cook County.<br /><br />Federico Rodriguez heads the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois. Rodriguez said Latinos represent 5 percent of the estimated 400 judges in Cook County.<br /><br />Rodriguez said even with Reyes&rsquo; election, the number of judges isn&rsquo;t reflective of the county&rsquo;s 24 percent Latino population.<br /><br />&ldquo;Jesse Reyes election is significant because we can see that a name like Reyes is electable where it wouldn&rsquo;t have been so before,&rdquo; Rodriguez said. &ldquo;So, it&rsquo;s a good thing, from our perspective. There&rsquo;s still a lot more work needs to be done.&rdquo;<br /><br />Reyes is proud of breaking these barriers, but said race shouldn&rsquo;t be the only focus.<br /><br />&ldquo;I was elected on my record, I was elected on my 14 years as a trial court judge with a diverse experience,&rdquo; Reyes said.<br /><br />Reyes said he hopes community outreach will inspire young people to pursue a career in the justice system.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to make sure that we bring together the Illinois Appellate court and the community,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Not only the Hispanic community, but all minority communities together.&rdquo;</p></p> Tue, 04 Dec 2012 10:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-appellate-court-welcomes-first-elected-latino-justice-104175