By Kathy Collins

Dedication to the practice of law and service to the community are two reasons why Miriam Velez Valkenburg is running for County Court Judge in Group 10 on Friday, August 30.

A native of Chicago, Valkenburg moved to Florida in 1990 to attend USF. After graduation she became a probation officer because she wanted to serve the community. After graduating from Stetson University’s School of Law, Valkenburg worked as an Assistant State Attorney for Hillsborough County. As a prosecutor, she handled thousands of cases in traffic, misdemeanor and felony juvenile offenses.

In her current practice as a shareholder in Valkenburg & Valez, PA, she practices in numerous areas of law including civil, criminal and family law. “While in private practice, I have handled cases involving breach of contract, lien matters, foreclosures, consumer debt issues, landlord tenant, personal injury, wrongful death, petitions for protection against domestic violence and civil traffic citations. This is significant because civil county judges preside over a wide range of causes of actions and must know the applicable rules, procedures and laws that govern those areas of law,” explained Valkenburg.

“As a former law enforcement officer and as an attorney in private practice, I understand the challenges of representing clients in court and am much more cognizant of constitutional issues,” said Valkenburg.

In addition, Valkenburg has continued to give back to the community in meaningful ways. She is co-founder of Are You Safe, Inc., an organization that provides free legal service to victims of domestic violence. She also serves in the Guardian Ad Litem Program.

Valkenburg balances her work life with her personal life as a wife to Jason and mother to her nine year old daughter, Ellianna.

“My prior work and life experiences qualify me to perform the duties of a county court judge. I believe my life experiences have taught me to be objective and patient. I truly believe that I possess the intelligence and temperament necessary to be a county court judge. As judge, I will always strive to be patient, ethical and treat each litigant with the respect they deserve while following the law and making informed decisions based upon the facts and the law,” said Valkenburg.

For more information on Valkenburg, visit www.miriam4judge.com.