RICHLAND, Wash. – A ribbon-cutting was held at the federal building in Richland the morning of October 14 for the opening of the Tri-Cities’ first full U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington.
Last year, Vanessa Waldref became the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, the first woman to hold the position. She was nominated by President Joe Biden and unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
She’s excited to start working in the area, already with goals in mind.
“Rebuilding trust is one of my overarching goals as the United States Attorney,” said Waldref. “We’re in a time where government isn’t always seen a partner.”
Waldref, from Spokane, says her office has an incredible amount of talented attorneys fighting for safer, healthier communities. The team has been focused on fraud, child exploitation and drug trafficking.
The office has been a plan for a long time, according to Senior U.S. District Court Judge Edward Shea, who has been in Richland for nearly 25 years. The Attorney’s Office has prosecuted more cases through its Richland Division in the past two decades than before, prompting the office. Since 2019, the division prosecuted around 70 cases per year, according to the press release from the Department of Justice.
With the addition of the Richland branch office, prosecutors will no longer have to travel from Spokane or Yakima for cases and hearings in Richland.