Lower Valley native confirmed as federal judge

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A Yakima Valley native is now Washington's newest federal court judge.

The U.S. Senate voted 92-4 Tuesday to approve Salvador Mendoza Jr.'s nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. He is the first Latino to serve on the court.

Mendoza is a Prosser High School graduate and once worked on local farms. He served most recently as a judge on the Benton-Franklin Superior Court.

The Eastern District of Washington includes 20 counties. It has court locations in Yakima as well as in Richland and Spokane.