CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- Kimberly Ragazzo is set to make history.
On Election Day, Ragazzo, a Democrat, defeated longtime incumbent Gerry Klein to become the new Town Justice of Cortlandt, 56 percent to 44 percent. Ragazzo will be the town's first ever female judge.
"It's still sinking in," Ragazzo said. "I believed in myself and believed I would be a good judge. I was very humbled by the turnout."
Ragazzo, who previously worked as a prosecutor in The Bronx, said she was encouraged by her colleagues to consider a run.
"There's a need for new judges and people believed I would be good at this," Ragazzo said.
During the campaign, Ragazzo said she pounded the pavement and made sure residents were aware of what the court does and why she would make a good judge.
As town justice, Ragazzo said she hopes to make court more of a fair experience.
"It can be a stressful experience," Ragazzo said. "I want to make sure people feel like their voices are being heard. Even if you lose, if you think the judge treats you fairly, it makes a world of difference."
Ragazzo said she would like to put more information online and to make the court more efficient by offering evening hours and allowing residents to pay fines and tickets after 3:30 p.m.
Being Cortlandt's first female judge is an honor, Ragazzo said.
"I didn't want people to vote for me just because I am a woman," Ragazzo, who has two daughters said. "I wanted them to vote for me because I was the right person and I have the right qualities and I'm also a woman."
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