Candidates rallying in race to succeed Jesse White as Secretary of State
Here is a rundown of all the qualified candidates running in the important race for Illinois Secretary of State. The incumbent Secretary of State, Democrat Jesse White, is retiring so a replacement will be selected next year. Who he endorses is important but won’t decide the race. Democrats will compete in the March 2022 Democratic Primary election and the winner will face a Republican candidate in the November 2022 General Election.
By Ray Hanania
Arab and Muslim American voters in Illinois will play a major role in helping to elect a successor to Jesse White who is retiring as Illinois Secretary of State. There are more than 90,000 Arab American voters in Illinois according to a mailing list maintained by the Arab American Democratic Club which will play a significant role in selecting the next candidate.
The Arab American Democratic Club will play a significant role in helping Arab American and Muslim voters select the right candidate along with the backing of the Arab American Chamber of Commerce and the National Arab American Journalists Association.
Here is an overview of the leading candidates who are running with links to their web pages.
The race to succeed Jesse White as Illinois Secretary of State has drawn a group of very qualified candidates including several incumbent elected officials with proven track records to win voter support.
The candidates reflect Illinois’ diversity with African American, Hispanic and White candidates all vying for the office.
Although no candidate is in the lead currently, and while all of the candidates are meeting potential constituents across the state, the race will be decided by the candidate who appeals best to the majority of Illinois voters.
The race so far includes: Chicago City Clerk Anna M. Valencia; Chicago 3rd Ward Alderwoman Pat Dowell; Chicago Alderman David Moore; and former Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.
Key issues include holding down rising costs in the Secretary of State’s offices for services and plates, ensuring regional offices are made accessible to all residents in the state and ensuring efficient delivery of services at those offices, and being a leader in speaking out against excessive taxation. The successful candidate will also appeal to all voters and not embrace one hot political or social agenda. An important criteria is for the candidates to avoid extremist group associations, activists who narrow agendas whose politics eclipses the concerns of the broader Illinois community.
Here is a look at some of the leading candidates with strong campaigns who have a chance of succeeding White int he 2020 Democratic primary contest and then running in the November 2022 General Election.
Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia leads off the candidates as one of the region’s most popular Hispanic and female elected officials and leaders. She has a strong background which she describes on her campaign website at:
I’ve lived in Illinois my whole life.
I grew up in Granite City, a small town in Southern Illinois, to a middle-class family. My father is a Union painter and my mom worked for a non-profit. As a child of a family that immigrated from Mexico, I learned the value of hard work and opportunity.
I have dedicated my career to public service.
I have spent years traveling around Illinois helping to elect Democrats at every level of government. I also worked in government to help create policies for everyday people.
My work at the City Clerk’s office is centered around making government more accessible to all Chicagoans. Currently, we are going through a massive technological overhaul that will help make city services more efficient and transparent.
I am proud of the work we have done in the City Clerk’s Office.
Since 2017, I have served as Clerk for the City Of Chicago and have made it my mission to ensure our community has a voice.
In 2019, we introduced the CityKey, Chicago’s first ever municipal government I.D. available to all residents. The CityKey was built with the community, for the community. It ensures equitable access to government and city services for all Chicagoans regardless of age, housing, gender identity or immigration status.
Our office also started the Fines, Fees, & Access Collaborative which has led to major reforms tackling the issues of debt, fines, and fees that plague many working families. We cannot at the same time fight for these families while also forcing them into bankruptcy.
I’m passionate about helping women and girls succeed.
I’ve always been an outspoken advocate for women’s rights. Along with over 120 women from various industries, I announced and executed the creation of the Chicago Status of Women and Girls Working Group which is tasked with recommending policies and initiatives to make Chicago a safer, more equitable place for women and girls. I’ve always believed that it’s important to see ourselves reflected in leadership positions. That’s why I was so proud to partner with Chicago Public Schools to launch NextGen City Council, a program providing high school students the opportunity to experience the law-making process by acting as city council members.
Everything I do is driven by my desire to make sure I leave behind a better future for my daughter. I want Reyana to grow up knowing she can be anything she sets my mind to – and that starts by making sure she sees herself in our elected leaders.
It’s time for our first woman, first latina and first mom Secretary of State!
Chicago Alderman David Moore is one of two African Americans seeking office. Here is information he provides on his website at:
Whether as a private citizen or public official, David Moore believes no job is too small or too large for him to tackle to improve the lives of neighbors and constituents—both locally and statewide.
The Englewood resident possesses a rare combination of corporate experience, political savvy and passion for progressive change. Through Moore’s work as a community organizer, political campaign manager and public policy liaison, he has connected with people and issues in every corner of the state.
As alderman since 2015, Moore sits on nine city council committees:
Contract Oversight & Equity (as Vice-Chairman), Budget & Government Operations, Committees & Rules, Housing and Real Estate, Finance, License and Consumer Protection, Pedestrian & Traffic Safety, Transportation & Public Way and Zoning, Landmarks & Building Standards.
A Native Chicagoan
Alderman Moore spent his childhood in the Robert Taylor Homes, before moving to the Englewood and Auburn-Gresham communities. Upon completing Simeon Vocational High School, he graduated from Western Illinois University with a dual major in accounting and operations management. He earned an MA with emphasis in government studies at Loyola University-Chicago.
Moore established a successful accounting career in the private sector at several Fortune 500 companies, as well as with Chicago’s Department of Aviation, Chicago Housing Authority and he served as an assistant to the commissioner of the Cook County Board of Review, coordinating the Faith-based and Community Initiatives.
His work in the public sector exposed him to nearly every aspect of government management, including hands-on experience with cost-benefit analysis, budgeting, strategic planning, directing inter-agency teams, and projecting the impact of initiatives related to such issues as urban renewal, affordable housing, land use, public works, and transportation. He oversaw projects for redeveloping the South Loop, creating job-training sites and identifying employment opportunities for low-income residents. Moore also worked on the redevelopment of Hilliard Homes and construction of the National Teachers Academy.
The lifelong South Side resident traces his “call” to public service back to his days as an 11-year-old walking the 17th Ward with his uncle, an assistant precinct captain. Years later, Moore became precinct captain of the ward’s Democratic Organization. He worked on behalf of local neighborhoods in several capacities, most notably successful voter registration drives, assisting officials to shut down drug houses and common-sense gun legislation. He also played key roles in city, state and national elections.
As a public servant, Moore considers himself on the “front line” and his duty is to provide access, customer service, transparency, accountability, integrity and advocacy. His grassroots and corporate backgrounds give him the skills to be effective.
Moore is the proud father of Alexandria Moore; son of Elizabeth Lee, who is known for generously giving her time to the community; and spiritual son of Rev. Dr. Clay Evans.The community recognizes David as a man of integrity, as well as for his volunteer work particularly with seniors, students and those involved with drug abuse. He is a member of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and founder of Moore For Youth, a nonprofit empowering youth and providing them access to government; and The Southside Memorial Day Parade, remembering and honoring veterans throughout the city and suburbs. Moore serves as a deacon of his long-time home of worship, Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church where Rev. Dr. Clay Evans was the founder and Reverend Reginald Sharpe is pastor.
Pat Dowell is the alderwoman of the Chicago 3rd Ward, a ward with history of strong representation and concern for taxpayers and families. You can get more information on Pat Dowell on her website at:
A Trusted, Proven Leader, Pat Dowell is a lifelong public servant. She has served as a social worker, a city planner, an administrator of several large and small not-for-profits, and a university instructor.
Since 2007, she has served as the Alderman of the 3rd Ward of Chicago. She is the Chair of the Chicago City Council Budget Committee.
Dowell was a significant catalyst for the rebirth of the historic Bronzeville community that occurred in the 1990s. She has an extensive background in urban planning and community development and was one of the primary architects of the Bronzeville Development Plan.
Formerly, Dowell was the executive director of the Near West Side Community Development Corporation, the Mid-South Planning and Development Commission, and Chicago Public Allies, a national youth development organization.
Pat Dowell is the proud mother of an adult son and a longtime Bronzeville resident. As a college basketball star, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Developmental Psychology from The University of Rochester and her master’s degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. Dowell owns a scrappy Yorkshire Terrier named Toots and is an avid Chicago Bulls Fan.
While she enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling – what she is truly passionate about is helping to serve the needs of her constituents.
Former State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulis is running for Secretary of State. You can read about his background on his website at:
Restoring public trust in government and its elected leaders is Alexi’s top priority.
At 30, Alexi was elected as Illinois State Treasurer, becoming the youngest State Treasurer in the nation.
Inspired to run by his friend and political mentor, President Barack Obama, Alexi’s platform centered on the simple belief that it was possible to create opportunity where everyone, not just the privileged few, had a very real chance to succeed.
A Proven Track Record
As an independent Democrat, Alexi pursued a progressive, reform agenda that focused on innovative initiatives and policies designed to curb ethical abuses, create jobs, safely invest taxpayer dollars and improve the financial futures of all Illinoisans.
In his first official act, Alexi ended pay-to-play politics in the Treasurer’s office by prohibiting his campaign fund from taking contributions from contractors, banks and office employees.
To prevent young adults from piling up debt, Alexi cracked down on credit card companies by authoring legislation to curb deceptive tactics marketers employed to prey on college students.
Alexi also played a role in helping Illinois-based suit maker Hartmarx avoid liquidation and save 1,000 jobs by threatening to pull state business from the factory’s main creditor, Wells Fargo. He argued that after receiving $25 billion in TARP funds, Wells Fargo had a responsibility to invest in American jobs and workers.
Unlike other states, Illinois weathered the 2008 market meltdown because of the Treasurer’s conservative and diversified investment strategy. Alexi introduced securities lending, which earned more than $2 million revenue for the state in its first year. To address the nation’s worst unfunded pension liability, Alexi drafted legislation to save the state $16 billion dollars by paying down its pension debt.
During a time of record foreclosures, the Treasurer’s office established a program to help Illinois homeowners refinance into sustainable and affordable mortgages so they could keep their homes by guaranteeing a portion of the mortgage before defaulting or missing a payment. Alexi also teamed up with the Attorney General’s Office to pass the Illinois Debt Settlement Consumer Protections Bill that banned the unscrupulous practices of debt settlement companies and prohibited hidden fees.
Alexi also set the pace on environmental initiatives, offering financial incentives for sustainable development and the purchase of hybrid vehicles. In addition, he expanded the state’s scholarship programs, earmarking money for the children of fallen military personnel and students pursuing agriculture-related degrees.
Running for U.S. Senate
In 2010, Alexi became the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Illinois with a platform to restore the promise of economic opportunity for every American and break the stranglehold of special interests and the misguided Republican-led agenda in Washington. In an effort to rein in Wall Street’s greed, Alexi became the first U.S. Senate candidate in Illinois history to refuse money from corporate PACs or federal lobbyists. He also became the first Illinois Senate candidate to favor legalizing same-sex marriage and support the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage law that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Continuing to Serve
After leaving the Treasurer’s Office in 2011, Alexi was appointed by the Governor to serve as Chairman of the Illinois Community College System, overseeing the state’s 48 community colleges. He also became Senior Director at BNY Mellon Wealth Management, started the Kanela Breakfast Club Restaurant Group, which he has since sold, and taught at Northwestern University as an adjunct professor.
Alexi served on the Board of Directors of CARA and is currently on the Board of Directors at Feed Chicago, One Million Degrees and the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center. He was also appointed to serve on the Chicago Public Library’s Board of Directors in 2018.
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