Former state treasurer Alexi GIannoulias is pictured at a Democratic County Chairs’ Affiliation occasion in Springfield final 12 months. He’s operating for the Democratic nomination for secretary of state in 2022. (Capitol Information Illinois picture by Jerry Nowicki)
Former state treasurer, U.S. Senate candidate operating after time in personal banking sector
By JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol Information Illinois
Illinois voters may know Alexi Giannoulias because the state’s treasurer from 2007 to 2011, or they could know him because the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate who misplaced to Republican Mark Kirk in 2010.
He’s now trying to get again into public life as he runs for secretary of state, an workplace is finest identified for its public-facing driver providers amenities. The workplace additionally oversees state libraries, securities enforcement, and the state archives amongst different duties. It has about 4,000 staff and a $600 million all-funds funds.
Now was the time to pursue an elected statewide workplace, Giannoulias stated in a Zoom interview with Capitol Information Illinois this week, as a result of he’s contemplating it from his household’s perspective.
“Once I take into consideration the political course of, once I take into consideration the hatred and vitriol, once I take into consideration the generational injury that is been completed to our nation, once I take into consideration this assault on voting rights, you realize, now that I’ve acquired two little ladies at dwelling with one on the way in which, I’m beginning to assume an increasing number of about what sort of world we’ll depart them,” he stated.
He stated his plan for the secretary of state workplace will likely be “centered on modernization.”
“Every part that we’ll do is gonna be based mostly on making life less complicated for Illinoisans throughout the state,” he stated. “Individuals are paying too excessive of what we name a time tax. Simply to make use of easy authorities providers, individuals are ready hours in line, they’re caught on the cellphone.”
He’s proposed an appointment-based “skip the road” characteristic at driver providers amenities, in addition to making a cellular app, growing on-line capabilities and implementing digital IDs in some capability.
He additionally proposed hiring “advocates” to be readily available in driver providers places of work for people who need assistance navigating the system.
“We need to be sure now we have hands-on help for these of us, however particularly for our seniors,” he stated, including that they might additionally assist these dealing with language limitations.
Since leaving the treasurer’s workplace in 2011, Giannoulias has held different public service roles, resembling serving in an unpaid capability on the Illinois Board of Greater Schooling and as chair of the Illinois Group Faculty Board. He additionally taught a political science course at Northwestern College and served on the Chicago Public Library board of administrators.
From 2011 to 2018, he held a job in wealth administration on the Chicago workplace of Financial institution of New York Mellon, and in 2019 he introduced the formation of his personal personal funding firm, Annoula Ventures.
Annoula Ventures, he stated, was “only a personal automobile the place I put money into firms,” however he stated he wouldn’t proceed involvement if he’s elected secretary of state. His LinkedIn web page described Annoula ventures as investing in small firms within the areas of actual property, hospitality, insurance coverage and early-stage tech.
“Having a special perspective, and bringing that to Springfield, I feel, is enormously useful,” he stated. “So being state treasurer, being the one one who’s held a constitutional workplace is a vital perspective, gives useful expertise.
“Coming from the personal sector and understanding the right way to run a enterprise, understanding the right way to make payroll, ensuring that, you realize, you perceive the challenges of operating a day-to-day enterprise is a perspective that I really feel extra individuals in authorities ought to have.”
Giannoulias counts labor unions, such because the Laborers’ Worldwide Union of North America, the Illinois Federation of Lecturers and the Service Staff Worldwide Union, because the “spine” of his marketing campaign. He additionally has endorsements from an extended checklist of state lawmakers and 6 sitting members of Congress.
These endorsements have helped make him the fundraising frontrunner towards Chicago Metropolis Clerk Anna Valencia, Chicago Alderman David Moore and a longshot candidate Sidney Moore.
Valencia has the endorsement of the state’s high Democrats, together with Gov. JB Pritzker and U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth. She’s additionally endorsed by outgoing secretary Jesse White, who has held the workplace since 1999.
The marketing campaign between Valencia and Giannoulias has been contentious, with Giannoulias hitting Valencia on her husband’s lobbying ties. Her husband, Reyahd Kazmi, lobbies town of Chicago and can also be registered with the secretary of state to foyer Illinois lawmakers and the governor.
Valencia, in the meantime, has repeated allegations about Giannoulias’ household’s now-defunct Chicago monetary establishment which dogged him throughout his Senate marketing campaign.
Specifically, these are that Giannoulias was a mortgage officer at his household’s Broadway Financial institution when it gave out questionable loans to convicted felons and arranged crime figures, as reported by the Chicago Tribune throughout his Senate marketing campaign.
Giannoulias has described Broadway Financial institution’s bother as ensuing from the Nice Recession, which in the end led to its dissolution. The Chicago Tribune reported that Giannoulias stated he was pleased with the group financial institution’s efforts and its collapse marked “a really tough time.”
Regardless of the frequent assaults between the 2 fundraising frontrunners, each Giannoulias and Valencia informed Capitol Information Illinois this week they might endorse one another within the basic election ought to the opposite acquire the nomination.
The secretary of state’s workplace additionally oversees lobbying registration in Illinois, and Giannoulias stated he’d look to work with lawmakers to strengthen that oversight authority. That features giving state inspectors basic better investigatory and subpoena energy, prohibiting elected officers of any workplace from lobbying some other elected physique, and making a broader lobbying database.
“Individuals have misplaced belief of their elected officers,” he stated. “They’ve misplaced belief in authorities. And the scandal and corruption, the pay-to-play, individuals are sick and uninterested in it. And I feel now’s a really perfect time for individuals to step up and try to be leaders and assist transfer our state ahead.”
The total dialog with Giannoulias is on the market on the Capitol Information Illinois Capitol Solid podcast, which you could find on most podcast apps or by clicking right here.
Capitol Information Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan information service overlaying state authorities that’s distributed to greater than 400 newspapers statewide. It’s funded primarily by the Illinois Press Basis and the Robert R. McCormick Basis.