About the Candidate
Name: Anna M. Valencia
DOB: Jan. 16, 1985
Occupation: Chicago City Clerk
Political Experience: Chicago City Clerk 2017-Present
I’m running for Secretary of State because I understand the challenges many Illinois families face. I grew up in a working-class household and a daughter of a union painter. We need more people in public office who truly understand marginalized communities, and that’s me.
I will be a voice for people who often don’t see themselves in state leaders. I would be the first woman and first woman of color Secretary of State in Illinois history.
And I’ve gotten things done all across Chicago mostly for people who feel like they’ve been left behind.
We established the City Key program making free optional government-issued ID cards available to all Chicagoans, improving access to city benefits like discount prescription drug programs.
We need to build on incredible progress made by Secretary Jesse White, who has set a high bar for his successor. I am honored to have his endorsement and I am ready to follow in his footsteps and make government more accessible to all Illinoisans.
That’s why I’ve put out a detailed plan to further modernize the Secretary of State’s office. I plan to create a DMV online payment portal to streamline services and launch the Illinois DMV app that allows residents to upload their driver’s license and access services through their smartphone. We’ll update our libraries and make sure every library here in Illinois has strong broadband wifi access.
Additionally, as part of my commitment to equity, I would establish a Voter Access Commission. We need to protect and expand voting rights, which are under attack in states across our country.
We all know how we felt the day Donald Trump was elected. We were scared, and we feared what would happen to our communities and our country. And many of us stood up and took action to do something to fight back. That’s why I became City Clerk around the same time that Trump became President. I couldn’t sit back and not contribute to the solution. When things get tough, you can count on me to step up and take on the challenge.
I’ve always been a fighter for our communities – and you can count on me to fight for you as your next Secretary of State.
Why are you running?
I’m running for Secretary of State because I understand the challenges many Illinois families face. I grew up in a humble family as the daughter of working-class parents and a union painter. We need more people in public office who truly understand marginalized communities, and that’s me. I will be a voice for people who often don’t see themselves in state leaders. We need to build on the incredible progress made by Secretary Jesse White, who has set a high bar for his successor. I’m honored to have his endorsement, and I am ready to follow in his footsteps and make government more accessible to all Illinoisans, especially those who have traditionally been left out or left behind. As Chicago City Clerk, I helped make government more accessible for all Chicagoans, and I will continue this work in the Secretary of State’s office. I want to bring my proven record to the Secretary of State’s office to serve everyone across our state.
What does this office do well, and what needs fixing?
Secretary White has done amazing work modernizing the office, increasing awareness on organ donations, making Illinois a national leader in highway safety, and providing resources to our libraries. I want to build and improve upon that legacy. I plan to use the skills I have honed as City Clerk of Chicago to further modernize the office.
I think the first place to start is to improve efficiency at DMVs across the state. I recently released a modernization plan for the office that lays out ideas for how I will hit the ground running. I will create a DMV online payment portal to streamline and simplify services. Illinoisans will be able to conduct transactions online and receive new and updated documents through the mail. I will work to develop a phone app that allows access to the DMV’s online portal and includes multi-lingual services for non-English speaking communities and will allow residents to upload their driver’s license.
I also understand from my time as City Clerk that the best results come when elected officials work with members of our communities to identify their needs and team up with experts to create forward-thinking policies. As Secretary of State, I will bring together thought partners who are proven innovators, including frontline workers, mid-level managers, private sector partners, faith leaders, and academic institutions. I will work with them to create the feedback necessary to make additional modernizations to the Secretary of State’s office that help it to run more efficiently and effectively for all Illinoisans.
What is the most pressing issue facing your constituents and how do you plan on addressing it?
I believe that ensuring the incoming funds from the federal Infrastructure bill are used in an impactful way is the greatest opportunity ahead for the next Secretary of State. This is a once-in-a-generation investment and can put Illinois government on a path to immediate and long-term success in delivering for all residents of the state. We also have a real opportunity to use this funding to make long term updates to all facets of the Secretary of State’s office, from our DMVs to our libraries. We need someone in the office who understands that and knows how to execute. I have a proven track record in modernizing government from my time in the City Clerk’s office, as Secretary of State I will deliver for all Illinois residents.
What specific steps would you take to ensure your office is accessible and responsive to your constituents?
In addition to the pieces of my modernization plan that will help the DMV run more efficiently, I have several other proposals to modernize the Secretary of State’s Office that I believe will help improve accessibility to the office for Illinois residents.
I will work to create a one-stop-shop online portal that will create one electronic file per person, so Illinoisans can visit the Secretary of State’s web portal, enter their password, and conduct all their business on one personalized, secure webpage. This one-stop-shop initiative will make transactions with the office quick and easy.
I want to electrify our infrastructure by turning our state buildings into WiFi beacons. This will allow residents living or working nearby to access free internet.
I plan to implement blockchain solutions to protect our data to build on public confidence in the office. Blockchain has many benefits that allow for safer and faster transactions, encryption that makes it extremely difficult for hackers to corrupt, and allows for the tracking of real-time records which limits fraud.
The Secretary of State also has the honor of being the state’s Chief Librarian. I know for me, growing up in Granite City, the library was at the center of our community and that gives the Secretary of State a real opportunity to deliver for constituents. I plan to update our library infrastructure and make sure our library system is delivering for Illinoisans in the 21st century by expanding “Makers Labs” into libraries across the state and increasing innovation grants to make additional modernized improvements.
Finally, I want to make the Secretary of State’s office more eco-friendly. I will expand upon Secretary White’s eco-friendly efforts, including efforts to encourage Illinoisans to sign up for online vehicle registration renewal reminder notices instead of receiving postcard reminders each year in the mail. This will save the state money and meet constituents where they are, be it through the mail for those who want it, or online for others.
I want to bring the same types of bold and innovative ideas I have executed during my time as City Clerk of Chicago to the Secretary of State’s office to better serve citizens across Illinois.