Anna Valencia working for secretary of state


Chicago Metropolis Clerk Anna Valencia, a candidate for secretary of state, is pictured on the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Affiliation occasion in Springfield final 12 months. (Capitol Information Illinois picture by Jerry Nowicki)

Civics Corps, cellular app, new ID card are a part of her platform


Capitol Information Illinois

This story is a part of Capitol Information Illinois’ protection of the race for secretary of state forward of the Tuesday, June 28 major. We’re reaching out to the candidates this week to debate their coverage positions and plans for the workplace ought to they be elected.

Chicago Metropolis Clerk Anna Valencia has often employed a quip throughout her race for the Democratic nomination for secretary of state: Outgoing Secretary Jesse White’s sneakers can’t be crammed, however they need to get replaced by excessive heels.

She’s been endorsed by White, who has been secretary of state since 1999, in addition to Gov. JB Pritzker and the state’s two U.S. senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, all of whom are Democrats.

She participated in a Zoom interview with Capitol Information Illinois Tuesday whereas recovering from COVID-19, outlining her plan to create a civics corps, work with lawmakers to tighten ethics legal guidelines, modernize the workplace and extra.

“I grew up in Granite Metropolis, so I didn’t develop up in a rich zip code,” she mentioned. “And I had the chance as a sophomore in highschool to job shadow then-state Sen. Evelyn Bowles in my space. And I knew nothing about authorities or that this was even a pathway for me.”

She mentioned she knew then that she needed to make a distinction.

“And there are such a lot of younger folks throughout the state that do not get that entry, that in the event you’re not a donor’s child, otherwise you’re not related in any approach, there is not any solution to even perceive that dynamic or which you can be a part of a change in your individual neighborhood,” she mentioned.

The Illinois Civics Corps could be a public-private partnership seeking to have interaction youth in an extension of an current paid internship program. She’d look to construct it with enter from younger folks, educators and neighborhood activists.

Valencia can be endorsed by abortion rights organizations like Deliberate Parenthood of Illinois Motion and the Private PAC, in addition to a protracted listing of state legislators.

However whereas she has the endorsements of the Illinois Schooling Affiliation and the Related Firefighters of Illinois, former state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias has obtained higher assist from labor unions such because the Laborers’ Worldwide Union of North America, the Illinois Federation of Academics and the Service Workers Worldwide Union amongst others. Notably, nonetheless, the highly effective AFL/CIO federation of labor unions has remained impartial.

Giannoulias has additionally had the cash lead in a contentious marketing campaign between him and Valencia, with every taking pictures on the different’s purported moral shortfalls, as lined by the Chicago Tribune.

Valencia’s been on protection concerning potential conflicts of curiosity stemming from her husband Reyahd Kazmi’s profession as a lobbyist. He lobbies town of Chicago for high-profile purchasers corresponding to Monterrey Safety, and he’s additionally registered with the secretary of state to foyer lawmakers and the governor.

Valencia mentioned she and her husband will launch tax returns yearly ought to she be elected, and they’d additionally not take part in particular person inventory transactions, and he or she’s denied impropriety. She’d additionally prefer to strengthen ethics legal guidelines.

“I feel that we should always have extra full disclosures, an announcement of financial curiosity,” she mentioned, additionally advocating for stronger revolving door prohibitions between lobbying and being a member of the Normal Meeting. 

Valencia often factors to her expertise as Chicago Metropolis Clerk, which she mentioned was additionally an administrative and operational function.

There, she oversaw town’s Metropolis Key program, which permits Chicagoans to use for a free metropolis ID card that doesn’t change a driver’s license however can be utilized with sure banking and housing organizations in Chicago, amongst different makes use of.

It’s a program that she mentioned she is going to think about scaling to a statewide degree.

“So consider undocumented communities, homeless, home violence survivors, veterans, LGBTQ youth, plenty of these of us have a tough time getting the documentation they want, (to obtain an ID) or it may very well be the barrier is the price,” she mentioned.

“And so what we created was a, not solely a authorities ID, however we built-in the library card, the CTA transit card, in a prescription low cost card, multi function authorities ID and it is free,” she mentioned.

The ID permits its holder to self-identify gender and has a spot to listing medical circumstances, but it surely can’t be used for driving or for any federal functions.

Valencia mentioned she believes she’d achieve success working with lawmakers as a result of she labored with them in 2019 to cross a invoice that prohibited the state from suspending licenses for unpaid charges, and he or she beforehand labored on Illinois Senate workers and for U.S. Sen Durbin. She additionally labored with the Chicago Metropolis Council to get issues performed, she mentioned.

“So I have already got these relationships,” she mentioned.

She mentioned she’d additionally look to extend the influence of library grants overseen by the secretary of state’s workplace, which quantity to about $109 million for the present fiscal 12 months. To take action, she mentioned she’d search federal funding and personal basis assist.

She mentioned she’d additionally look to broaden driving amenities to have extra cellular availability and versatile hours, whereas seeking to broaden on-line companies to make sure every Illinoisan has an individualized portal the place they’ll work together with the workplace. She’d additionally look to create a cellular app.

The complete dialog with Valencia is out there on the Capitol Information Illinois Capitol Solid podcast, which yow will discover 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.

Republicans see opening in secretary of state race

Republicans see opening in secretary of state race


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