The story of Sarah Saldana is anything but straight-forward. In fact, she says, her life has been a “zig-zag.”
Saldana, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, was sworn into office on Sept. 29, 2011. Her appointment ended a two- and-a-half year stalemate between the President Barack Obama and Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), during which time Jim Jacks served as acting U.S. Attorney for the district.
Saldana was featured by WFAA, the Dallas-area ABC affiliate station, in a week-long segment titled Groundbreaking Women in North Texas, which can be seen here. She’s coming off of a big year in 2011: She was named one of The Dallas Morning News’ Spanish-language newspaper Al Dia’s 2011 “People of the Year,” was nominated for 2011 Dallas Morning News’ “Texan of the Year“and received the Hispanic National Bar Association’s “Latina Attorney of the Year” award in September 2011.
Saldana played a key role in a Dallas City Hall corruption trial that some Democrats called politically motivated. Despite bitter feelings from some, Saldana had the support of many Democrats and leaders in the Latino community.
Saldana grew up one of seven children living off of a family income of $13,000 a year, according to WFAA. Saldana started her career as a school teacher, but called her life “a zig-zag.” She attended Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, graduating in 1984, and clerked for the late U.S. District Judge Harold Barefoot Sanders, Jr.
Sanders gained notoriety for overseeing the lawsuit to desegregate Dallas ISD Schools and he became a role model for Saldana. DISD remained under his oversight from 1983 until 2003, when he ruled that DISD was desegregated.
“He always came back to what is right and what is fair,” Saldana told WFAA. “What more do I want than to have that as a U.S. attorney? To be thinking — all the time — what is right, what is fair?”
Saldana is the first Latina U.S. Attorney in Texas and one of 21 female U.S. Attorneys in the 93 districts across the country.