A dropout prevention class in the fifth grade at an elementary school is what caught Monique Richardson's attention while working as a teacher's aide during her years in college.
She was exposed to families with situations that steered her in a different career path. Richardson followed in he footsteps of her father, Bishop A.J. Richardson, and attended FAMU graduating with a business administration degree and prepared for corporate America.
"I never thought I would be in politics. I never saw myself doing this ever! The goal is to have all this knowledge, abilities and let life carry you where it's going to carry you and be prepared for whatever," said Richardson
The skills from the School of Business and Industry at FAMU allowed Richardson to create new ways to help people, become a small business owner, and a public speaker. After graduating from FAMU, Richardson worked for AL Lawson, which sparked her interest in law.
Richardson received her law degree at University of Florida along with her colleague Chuck Hobbs, who she worked with in private practice. She always had an interest in criminal law.
After law school Richardson worked for three years at an attorney’s office and a public defender’s office in Clearwater. She was encouraged by the late Kris Knab to be a managing attorney for legal services and continued that for eight years in North Florida.
With a lot of courtroom practice, Richardson started her own law practice.
"Attorney Monique Richardson is uniquely qualified for election as a Leon County judge because she has served admirably on both sides of the aisle. Her role as a jurist is aptly informed by her significant experiences. As the managing counsel of Legal Services of North Florida and as a frequent pro-bono attorney, attorney Richardson has witnessed firsthand gross miscarriages of justice. She would be fair and deliberative on the bench," said Darryl Jones, a community activist and school board candidate.
Richardson ran for office because of her law practice, varied background and being attentive to the vulnerable. Richardson knows being in the courtroom with low-income members of the community brings vulnerability. She understands it is important to tackle the no-legal issues people are dealing with or they will keep coming back for the same reasons. She believes there are many untapped resources in Tallahassee that people are unaware of. Her passion is helping people who have been beat up by life. Life can be a struggle and people just need that hand, she said.
Richardson ran for judge in 2016 and lost to an incumbent who had been appointed. She is back this year to do it again and make a change in the results.
Judge Barbra Hobbs has been one of her inspirations to run for the second time. She has an enormous support team from local attorneys to her church, Bethel AME.
"Monique Richardson is extremely well qualified to be a county judge for our county. With her background as a public defender, Legal Services lawyer, and private practice lawyer, she can handle every type of county court case capably. In addition, from her many years of legal experiences, she knows how to manage a courtroom. I look forward to seeing her on the bench, she will be great," said Nancy Daniels.
Richardson wants to continue what she does in Legal Services and find the root cause, if possible, and put services in place. The idea is to help people before it turns into felonies.