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Iris Martinez Sworn In As First Latina Cook County Circuit Court Clerk

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Former Illinois state Sen. Iris Martinez made history Tuesday as she was sworn in as Cook County Circuit Court Clerk, becoming the first Latina to hold that position.

Martinez took the oath of office Tuesday morning at the Daley Center courthouse, replacing longtime Clerk Dorothy Brown, who herself was the first African American county court clerk, and second Black woman to hold countywide office.

As Clerk of the Circuit Court, Martinez will take over the duties of maintaining all Cook County court records, and collecting court fees and fines. She'll also work with more than 400 judges on cases that originate in Chicago and suburban Cook County.

Brown oversaw the same office for 20 years, but last year decided against running for a sixth term.

In November, Martinez handily defeated Republican Barbara Bellar for Circuit Court Clerk.

An Illinois state senator since 2003, Martinez also was the first Latina to serve in the Illinois State Senate.

"You made history by electing me as the first Latina Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the second largest unified court system in the country. Today, I dedicate this moment to the young girls of this county; the young teenagers, college students, and all girls and women; the Latinas with brown dark and beautiful skin and hair color; gorgeous, smart, and beautiful in heart and soul, all potential history-makers," Martinez said.

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