BACKGROUND: Whelan, 56, of Wading River, is running in the Democratic primary. She also is running on the Independence line in November. She currently serves as the supervising Suffolk County Family Court judge. A graduate of Stony Brook University in 1985 with both a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in policy analysis and public management, she received her law degree from Albany Law School in 1988. She began her law career as an assistant county attorney for Suffolk and then was a law clerk to three state Supreme Court justices for 17 years. She won a Family Court judge seat in 2007 and was re-elected last year. She has been the lead judge of the Suffolk County Child Welfare Court Improvement Project since 2009. She was appointed in 2017 to the statewide Family Court Advisory and Rules Committee, which reviews proposed state legislation and drafts its own proposals on family law. In 2017, Hofstra University's Center for Children, Families and the Law honored her for her work in Family Court.