By Kathy Collins

For Melissa Polo, the law and becoming an attorney has been a calling. This, along with a strong commitment to public service, is why she is running for Hillsborough County Circuit Court Judge, Group 24, on Tuesday, August 30.

Polo has practiced law in Hillsborough County for more than 20 years. She worked as a prosecutor for the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office for four years. After prosecuting and trying hundreds of cases, including felony drug cases, she became an advocate for people in need and has successfully run a private practice since 2009. Polo now handles all types of civil and criminal cases.

“Of those running in Group 24, I have the most diverse background with respect to the types and level of cases litigated. I have litigated cases in both state and federal court. This diversity in cases handled has given me a lot of experience, and will allow me to function effectively as a judge,” said Polo. She has extensive experience on both sides of civil and criminal law and has worked in many areas where Circuit Court Judges are called upon to preside over throughout their time on the bench.

Polo is a third generation Floridian. “My ancestors who emigrated from Cuba and Sicily passed along a tradition of hard work, integrity, respect, compassion and community service,” said Polo. In addition to running a successful law practice, Polo provides an average of 40 hours per year in pro bono legal service to the community. She is involved with many outstanding organizations including Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Hispanic Advisory Council, the Spring and Teen Court Program. In addition, she has mentored law students through the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers.

“I care about this community. It is my home. For me, the most effective way to give back to the community is by serving as a judge,” explained Polo.

“My practical litigation experience handling hundreds of cases in all areas of Circuit Court, coupled with my courthouse relationships and community involvement will enable me to run an organized, efficient, respectful, meaningful and fair courtroom,” added Polo.

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