Judge-elect Baldwin embraces her place in local history - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Judge-elect Baldwin embraces her place in local history

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Carla Baldwin is living proof that chasing your dream is worth every second. 

Her victory last Tuesday in the election for Youngstown Municipal Court Judge will make her the first female African-American judge in Mahoning Valley history, a title she doesn't take lightly.

All those leftover campaign signs and t-shirts are a reminder of the road Carla Baldwin's traveled to get to this point; a journey that started earlier than you might realize.

"I told my mother when I was in the first grade, 'I'm going to be an attorney when I grow up.' Then in the sixth grade, I said, 'I'm going to be a judge.' So, 25 years. People say 'you're so young!' Well, I've been working on this for 25 years," said Baldwin.

When she is sworn in and takes her spot in local history, it will be a big moment.

"I will be fighting back tears, try not to do the ugly cry," said Baldwin. "I'm going to be a part of history. I'm going to be forever etched into the history of my city."

A dream realized, a glass ceiling shattered, but Baldwin says she wants this to be just the beginning.

"I want to make it now the norm. That I don't care who you are, I don't care what color your skin is, I don't care what your race is, I don't care what your socioeconomic background is. If you dream it and you stay here in Youngstown, you can become that," said Baldwin. "I think we talk about dreams, I want to be a judge, I want to be this, but somebody needs to also be very real with you and say it's gonna be rough."

"I tell my kids, who appear before me all the time, if I made some other choices and I didn't get to be in this seat talking to you, it would all be for not. So it was all worth it. I think you need somebody in your ear to tell you it's worth it," Baldwin said.

It's also clear she feels she can make a difference as a judge as well, beyond simply inspiring others. Judge Baldwin said that begins with finding a way to fight the Valley's drug problem.

"I've seen the impact that effective drug treatment and mental health services can provide to someone in need," said Baldwin. "Working with our mental health recovery board, working with sheriff Greene, working with whoever the police chief is going to be and seeing what we can do to be more proactive and provide services. And since we will be dealing with primarily misdemeanors, let's stop people from becoming felons."

A clear vision and now a clear path to living out her dream, making a difference in many ways.

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