I’ve never been interested in the “judge races.” I usually just skipped voting for judges because it was hard to study the candidates. But this year is different.

I checked gov.ca.gov and learned that since July 2021 Gov. Gavin Newsom has appointed 84 judges who are Democrats and one Republican judge. That’s just lopsided — particularly in a branch of government that should be non-partisan.

I am supporting Melissa Rodriquez for Superior Court Seat 17. She is independent and, best of all, a reluctant candidate. She’s running because she wants the courts to be better balanced — to be more non-partisan. She wants justice to be done. I think she’s brave!

But she has had a late start in this campaign and appears to be the underdog in a lonely race against James McGee, a criminal defense attorney.

Melissa has been a criminal prosecutor for more than 17 years and is now a supervising deputy district attorney. She has sought justice for victims and their families in cases related to homicides, human trafficking, rape, child sexual and physical abuse, and domestic violence.

She is an expert in human trafficking and has taught courses on it to law enforcement and attorneys throughout the country.

Melissa is committed to the community and has volunteered her time to human trafficking organizations, regional high schools and mock trials.

Best of all, she has the support of her bosses and co-workers (who know her work ethic) District Attorney Jason Anderson, District Attorney, Chief Deputy District Attorney Terry Brown, Chief Deputy District Attorney Bruce Brown and San Bernardino County Supervisor Dawn Rowe. Two San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Associations, and multiple police officers’ associations — including Redlands, San Bernardino, Ontario, Fontana, Barstow and Chino — are counted on her growing list of supporters.

If you are interested in justice, too, learn more about her at rodriguezforjudge2022.com and please join me and other concerned citizens in supporting Melissa Rodriquez.

Molly Burgess, Redlands