Staff Directory List

Cortes, Claribel

Claribel Cortes
  • Departments:Community%20Services%2C%20Elected%20Officials
  • Divisions:Constitutional Officers
  • Title:County Surrogate
  • Phone:(732) 745-3055

Claribel Cortes became the Middlesex County Surrogate on March 26, 2021. She is the first woman 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.

Learn more about the Office of the Surrogate.

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