Since the age of 12, Mario Perez has wanted the title of judge.
After years working as an attorney, on Friday his dream finally came true.
"I'm hoping as a judge, I can make a difference in someone's life,” Perez said.
Perez grew up with Spanish-speaking parents in southern Texas, and he had to push the boundaries to succeed.
"The good stuff about America — a lot of bad things — but a good thing is a young Mexican American or African American, with hard work and education can do something with their lives,” said Perez.
He said he hopes he can make other Hispanics feel comfortable while also staying fair and balanced.
"Because I speak to someone in my courtroom does not mean I'm going to do what I can to rule in their favor, for example,” he said. “But I think good judges have a heart. And listen, but at the end of the day, you got to be fair and follow the law."
Perez said he hopes to inspire others.
"I think the story of immigrants is the story of success and, once again, an immigrant in this country can come in and succeed,” Perez said.
He said he plans to make sure of his background in family law, delinquency and truancy.
He is the first Hispanic judge in Pitt County and the first Mexican-American judge in the state.
"I'm really looking forward to serving Pitt County,” said Perez. “I'm looking forward to being the first Hispanic district court judge, but more importantly, I want to be a good district court judge, and I'm going to work hard like I have all of my life and I'm going to be learning. With those two things, I will do fine."