JERSEY CITY - A Bayonne native was formally sworn in Thursday as Hudson County's first female and Hispanic lead prosecutor.
Esther Suarez, of Secaucus, is a former Passaic County Superior Court judge. Prior to that, she worked as counsel for the Bergen County executive's office.
Gov. Chris Christie nominated Suarez, whom lawmakers approved unanimously earlier in the year. She was sworn in during a private ceremony in July, taking over for Guy Gregory. Gregory had been the acting prosecutor since 2012.
Suarez, a first-generation American whose parents are from Spain, spoke about immigration during Thursday's ceremony.
"Right here before you, at this very moment, is the face of immigration," she said referring to herself. "This is what the product of two Spanish-speaking immigrants look like."
Suarez said one of her first actions will be to create a mental-health program to help offenders. She said other goals include restoring the reputation of the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office and raising the salaries of employees. According to Suarez, those salaries are the second-lowest in the state.
She will serve a five-year term.