Claribel Cortes became the Middlesex County Surrogate on
March 26, 2021. She is the first Latina to serve as Middlesex County Surrogate
and the first Latina constitutional officer in Middlesex County history.
A dedicated public servant before taking on the role of
Surrogate for Middlesex County, Surrogate Cortes has served as a councilperson
and communications liaison for the North Brunswick Township Council since 2020.
Since 2017, she has been vice-chair and a board member of the Statewide
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, which represents more than 119,000
Hispanic-owned businesses throughout the State of New Jersey. From 2017 to
2020, Surrogate Cortes was a member of the North Brunswick Township School
Board, where she chaired the Board’s Community Relations Committee. She is also
a past member of the Board of Trustees for Middlesex College.
In addition to her time as a public servant, Surrogate
Cortes is a media executive with nearly three decades of experience working for
such companies as Fox News, ABC News, and, most recently, the Associated Press.
As director of digital media and entertainment for the Associated Press, she
was the first Latina director in the company’s 170-year history. In that
position, she managed a global news division, securing partnerships with Warner
Brothers, Sony, and Disney; oversaw an $85.2 million P&L budget and digital
media operations; and facilitated long-term financial planning.
Since 2017, Surrogate Cortes has served as the co-founder
and president of The Setroc Group, a New Brunswick-based, minority- and
veteran-owned business that assists mid- to large-size firms and government
agencies in expanding their media footprint in the Hispanic market via digital
and broadcast media.
Surrogate Cortes is a member of the New Jersey State Theater
Latino Outreach Committee, the National Association of Professional Women
(NAPW), the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), the National
Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE), and the National
Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP).
In her free time, Surrogate Cortes has volunteered as a
mentor and coach with the national non-profit organization, Girls on the Run, a
role in which she helped girls ages 8 to 11 cultivate a love of running and an
understanding of teamwork.
Surrogate Cortes is fluent in English and Spanish, as well
as conversational Portuguese.