Susana Mendoza Article

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Susana Mendoza
Susana Mendoza Blue Suit.jpg
10th Comptroller of Illinois
Assumed office
December 5, 2016
Governor Bruce Rauner
J. B. Pritzker (elect)
Preceded by Leslie Munger
City Clerk of Chicago
In office
May 16, 2011 – December 5, 2016
Preceded by Miguel del Valle
Succeeded by Anna M. Valencia
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 1st district
In office
January 10, 2001 – May 16, 2011
Preceded by Sonia Silva [1]
Succeeded by Dena Carli
Personal details
Born (1972-05-13) May 13, 1972 (age 46)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Education Truman State University ( BA)

Susana Mendoza (born May 13, 1972) is the current Comptroller of Illinois. She formerly served as Chicago City Clerk and as an Illinois State Representative, representing the 1st District of Illinois – which included the Chicago communities of Brighton Park, Little Village, Gage Park and Back of the Yards. She was first elected in 2001 and served into her sixth term, when she won the election for City Clerk of Chicago in February 2011.

Early life

Susana Mendoza was born in Chicago to Joaquin and Susana Mendoza, who had emigrated from Mexico in the 1960s. The family moved from Chicago to Bolingbrook when she was a child. Mendoza graduated from Bolingbrook High School in 1990 where she earned All‐State and All‐Midwest honors in varsity soccer. She then attended Truman State University, formerly known as Northeast Missouri State University, in Kirksville, Missouri on a soccer and academic scholarship, earning All‐Midwest honors in soccer, and graduating in 1994 with a B.A. in Business Administration.

State Representative

Mendoza was elected as an Illinois State Representative in 2000 when she was 28 years old, making her the youngest member of the 92nd Illinois General Assembly.

She was Chairman of the International Trade and Commerce Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Bio-Technology Committee and is a member of the Labor, Public Utilities and Railroad Industry committees of the House. [2][ citation needed] Mendoza has served as Co-Chairwoman of the Conference of Women Legislators, and also co-founded the first Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus.

Mendoza had a good working relationship with Governor Blagojevich until 2007, when she disagreed with the governor's staff. [3] In 2008, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich blamed Mendoza, along with nine other Chicago Democrats, for lawmakers rejecting his capital bill; he also accused them of holding two taxpayer-paid jobs at once, being paid by the city or state at the same time as collecting salaries as state lawmakers. [4] Mendoza took an unpaid leave from her job as a project coordinator with the city of Chicago when she went to Springfield for legislative business, usually collecting only half of her published $73,000 salary in that position as a result. [4] She replied: "It is an obvious example that the governor is a pathological liar. If he honestly believes, in his lunacy, that 10 people from the City of Chicago controlled the fate of that doomed capital bill, he needs medical attention." [4]

Mendoza is actively involved in national and international politics. She served as an Illinois Democratic delegate in the primary elections for presidential candidates Al Gore in 2000 and for John Kerry in 2004. To promote positive international relations and better understanding among governments, Mendoza has visited China, El Salvador and Mexico in her official capacity. In 2002, she visited the African countries of Uganda and Tanzania as a delegate for the American Council of Young Political Leaders. In June 2004, the State Department sent Mendoza to Brazil where she participated in a series of debates in which she represented the National Democratic Party's 2004 presidential platform.

Chicago City Clerk

Mendoza holds the title as the first woman elected City Clerk in Chicago. In 2011, the year Mendoza was elected Chicago City Clerk, she took charge of an office responsible for more than $100 million in annual revenue. Working closely with animal rights groups, Mendoza took on the puppy mill industry and won, spearheading the Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Ordinance. This new law effectively banned Chicago pet stores from selling dogs, cats, or rabbits unless the animals are sourced from humane shelters or animal rescues. She successfully transitioned 1.3 million Chicagoans away from an inefficient and archaic seasonal Chicago city vehicle sticker sales program to a streamlined year-round sales program. Her massive technology overhaul and forward-thinking policies led to reduced fraud, increased efficiency and new revenues for the City of Chicago at lower taxpayer cost.

Illinois Comptroller

Mendoza ran for Illinois Comptroller in the 2016 special election, defeating the Republican incumbent Leslie Munger by 5% of the votes cast. [5] [6]

Mendoza was elected during a special election to fill out the remaining two years of the term won by her friend, the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. Following Topinka's example of offering candid assessments of State finances regardless of whether or not they ruffled feathers in either party, Mendoza quickly began delivering on a promise to be a truth-telling fiscal watchdog.

Mendoza took office amid a 2-year budget impasse between the Governor and the General Assembly. The impasse and the $16.7 billion backlog of bills it ran up put Mendoza in the unwelcome position of having to make life-or-death decisions of which state bills got paid and which got put on hold. She compared herself to George Bailey on the movie It's a Wonderful Life trying to pay state vendors not all the money they are owed, but enough to get by until the state is in a position to pay in full. [7] [8]

Mendoza played a crucial role in warning both sides of the consequences of entering a third year without a budget while at the same time reassuring the financial markets that the state would continue making its debt service payments. [9] A video she posted on Facebook warning Illinois citizens of the consequences of failing to pass a budget went viral, getting 2.8 million views. Mendoza introduced the lowest proposed budget for her office in 20 years, saying she was leading by example.

"In less than 12 months, the high-energy, fast-talking Mendoza transformed the Comptroller's office into a fully engaged, fearless financial counterforce that unabashedly dove into brutal daily budget battles," Politico wrote, naming Mendoza to its national list of "18 to watch in 2018." [10]

In her first year in office, Mendoza brought together members of both parties to pass the Debt Transparency Act, which, for the first time, provides residents and legislators with a monthly accounting of the debts owed by every state agency. Though the Governor vetoed the legislation, Republican and Democratic members of the House of Representatives unanimously overrode the veto. A second bipartisan vote in favor in the Illinois Senate was nearly unanimous.

"Talk to legislators who used to work with Susana Mendoza. Talk to her soccer coaches from grade school or college. Talk to her political opponents. Or talk to [Mayor] Rahm Emanuel, who tussled with Mendoza when she was city clerk. They'll tell you she's tough. They'll tell you she wears you down — or wins you over — with argument, with cheer, with legwork," Chicago Magazine wrote in "Woman on Fire" [11]

During a time of historic fiscal crisis, Mendoza has been an advocate for stability, comprehensive budget solutions, and open and transparent financial reporting. The Office of the Illinois Comptroller is charged with maintaining the State's central fiscal accounts and ordering payments into and out of the funds. The Comptroller's Office maintains a website that gives residents detailed information about the State's fiscal health, employee salaries, outstanding bills, and vendor contracts. Mendoza oversaw a revamp of the website to make it user-friendly and easier to navigate.

In 2017, Mendoza made headlines when she chased down a hit-and-run driver, securing his image and vehicle license number on video before he fled the scene. That allowed police to track him down and charge him. Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass wrote, "In chaotic moments, people reveal themselves. And Mendoza showed she is one tough lady. She confronted a certified Chicago tough guy, a two-time ex-con. She warned those nearby, she announced she'd called police, she backed the tough guy down and he finally ran away." [12]


Potential Chicago mayoral candidacy

On November 2, 2018 a video leaked from Mendoza’s campaign signaling her intention to run for Mayor of Chicago in 2019 despite her concurrent run for re-election as Comptroller. [14] [15]

Other work

She currently serves on the Board of Advisors of Let America Vote, an organization founded by former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander that aims to end voter suppression. [16]


  1. ^
  2. ^ House committee information, Illinois General Assembly, retrieved January 31, 2011
  3. ^ Miller, Rich (2008-08-11). "Breathless". Capital Fax blog. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
  4. ^ a b c Meitrodt, Jeffrey (2008-08-08). "Blagojevich accuses 10 Chicago Democrats of 'killing' public works project". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
  5. ^ Pearson, Rick (22 September 2015). "City Clerk Mendoza gets major union backing in state comptroller bid". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  6. ^ Sotonoff, Jamie (8 November 2016). "Mendoza beats Munger in Illinois comptroller race bid". Daily Herald. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  7. ^ Mackey, Brian. "Interview: I shouldn't have this much power". NPR Illinois. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  8. ^ Ryssdal, Kai. "What happens when a state has $15 billion worth of unpaid bills?". Marketplace. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  9. ^ Vock, Dan. "In Illinois' Ongoing Budget Crisis, She's the Woman Deciding Who Gets Paid". Governing Magazine. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  10. ^ Korecki, Natasha. "18 to Watch in 2018". Politico. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  11. ^ Fishman, Ted. "Woman on Fire". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  12. ^ Kass, John. "Comptroller Mendoza confronts Chicago tough guy leaving crash scene with 2 magic words: Say Cheese!". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  13. ^ V.v.B (5 October 2017). "Latinos have become Chicago's second-largest ethnic group". The Economist.
  14. ^ "Susana Mendoza video leaks out declaring 'I'm running for mayor of Chicago'". Chicago Sun-Times. November 2, 2018. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  15. ^ "Video clip leaks of state Comptroller Susana Mendoza announcing run for Chicago mayor". Chicago Tribune. November 3, 2018. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  16. ^ "Advisors". Let America Vote. Retrieved May 1, 2018.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Leslie Munger
Comptroller of Illinois