Partners Christopher Johnsen and Scott Clay opened their Lakeview home for a reception Jan. 27, honoring Judge Jesse G. Reyes and his campaign.
Reyes currently serves as a circuit court judge in chancery court, hearing mortgage foreclosures and mechanics' liens.
Johnsen, an insurance lawyer, met Reyes through volunteering for First Defense Legal Aid and the Minority Legal Education Review.
While exploring their political interests, Johnsen and Clay took an interest in judicial candidates. "One we met the judges that we felt were really good at their jobs, we wanted to get involved and we started volunteering," said Clay.
Judicial races are often overlooked, so Johnsen and Clay want to raise awareness by hosting receptions for the candidates they support.
"People don't know who the judges are, and they have such an immediate effect on our lives," said Johnsen. "We come in contact with judges more than we do with senators and representatives, generally, so this reception is our way of really getting our community involved."
Reyes started his career 14 years ago as an associate judge, after the Democratic party endorsed him, a first for a Latino judicial candidate in Chicago. While first on the bench he volunteered to take any assignment, eventually serving in every Cook County branch court.
"I am a public servant who believes in public service on and off the bench," said Reyes. "I am an individual who believes in sometimes making the tough decisions when justice needs to be done."
Reyes is currently running in the Democratic primary for an open seat in the First District Appellate Court, which hears appeals for Cook County. If elected, Reyes would serve on a panel of three judges, reviewing decisions made at the trial level in a lower court.
"Everybody gets their opportunity to address the court." said Reyes. "It doesn't matter what community you come from, who you are, what your status is in society. I treat everybody equally … I will render a decision based solely on the facts and the evidence that is presented to me."