Gloria Campos makes her pick for 2011 Texan of the Year




Posted on December 19, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 19 at 7:15 PM

DALLAS — It's a long way from a Dallas ISD classroom to the federal courthouse, but that is the journey taken by Sarah Saldaña, the first Latina to serve as Chief Federal Prosecutor for the Northern District of Texas.

She's my pick for Texan of the Year.

Recommended by both U.S. Senators from Texas, it took almost two years for Saldaña's nomination to finally come to a vote last September.

Saldaña's credentials are solid. She's a veteran federal prosecutor, known as a corruption-fighter following a number of high-profile convictions in the Dallas City Hall corruption scandal. The prosecutor's efforts won her praise from both Democrats and Republicans.

Still, some Democrats' feathers were ruffled because they weren't consulted on a nominee from North Texas. That privilege belonged to Senators Hutchison and Cornyn, and ultimately the detractors fell behind the nominee.

Saldaña's ascent is a true American success story. The South Texas native earned her associates degree at Del Mar Junior College in Corpus Christi in 1971. Soon after she was an eighth grade teacher in the DISD, later graduating summa cum laude from Texas A&I University, and finally attending law school at SMU.

Sarah Saldaña's success story is an inspiration — not only to Latina women and girls, but to anyone who sticks to their dreams and believes they are possible — even if the path seems unlikely to lead from the classroom to the courtroom.

That's why Sarah Saldaña is my choice for Texan of the Year.

The Dallas Morning News will announce its selection on Sunday, December 25.