Susana Mendoza

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Susana Mendoza
Susana Mendoza Blue Suit.jpg
10th Comptroller of Illinois
Assumed office
December 5, 2016
GovernorBruce Rauner
J. B. Pritzker
Preceded byLeslie Munger
City Clerk of Chicago
In office
May 16, 2011 – December 5, 2016
Preceded byMiguel del Valle
Succeeded byAnna Valencia
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 1st district
In office
January 10, 2001 – May 16, 2011
Preceded bySonia Silva
Succeeded byDena Carli
Personal details
Susana A. Mendoza

(1972-05-13) May 13, 1972 (age 46)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
David Szostak (m. 2011)
EducationTruman State University (BA)
WebsiteOfficial website

Susana A. Mendoza (born May 13, 1972) is an American politician. She is the 10th and current Comptroller of Illinois since December 2016. She formerly served as Chicago City Clerk and as an Illinois State Representative, representing the 1st District of Illinois.

Mendoza was first elected as State Representative in 2001 and served into her sixth term, when she won the election for City Clerk of Chicago in February 2011, becoming the first female city clerk. She served in the position for five years until successfully running for the position of Comptroller of Illinois in 2016.

On November 14, 2018, Mendoza announced her candidacy for Mayor of Chicago for the 2019 election.[1]

Early life[edit]

Mendoza was born in Chicago to Joaquin and Susana Mendoza, who had emigrated from Mexico in the 1960s.[2] The family moved from Chicago's Little Village neighborhood to Bolingbrook when she was a child due to the ongoing violence in Little Village.[3]

Mendoza graduated from Bolingbrook High School in 1990 where she earned All‐State and All‐Midwest honors in varsity soccer.[4] She then attended Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri on a soccer and academic scholarship and graduating in 1994 with a B.A. in Business Administration.[5]

Rise in politics[edit]

Mendoza became involved with Southwest Side Chicago Machine politics in the mid-1990's. As a young operative, she initially failed in a 1998 bid for the Illinois House. In 1999, she was invited to coordinate the aldermanic runoff campaign of Chicago First Ward incumbent Jesse Granato.[6] Granato had been forced into a runoff by progressive independent candidate Cynthia Soto. Central to the mayor's aggressive development plans, the First Ward election was one of five hotly contested races in independent efforts to oppose the city's patronage political system. Granato's chief support came from then-Mayor Richard M. Daley as well as the controversial Hispanic Democratic Organization and Coalition for Better Government. The campaign that Mendoza won for the mayor was the subject of widespread reports of ballot fraud, intimidation, and vote suppression, documented in an FBI investigation and a later book based on the FBI report.[6] Independent Southwest and Northwest Side opponents criticize Mendoza as owing her "political soul" to these organizations, which have been the central subject of federal and local fraud investigations.[7]

During her time as campaign coordinator for embattled Machine incumbent Jesse Granato, Susana Mendoza meets with Mayor Daley and Granato at Chicago City Hall, April 1999.

State Representative[edit]

In 2000, immediately after her victory for Granato and supported by Daley and the Hispanic Democratic Organization,[8] Mendoza was slated and elected as an Illinois State Representative. At only 28, this made her the youngest member of the 92nd Illinois General Assembly.[1]

Mendoza was Chairman of the International Trade and Commerce Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Bio-Technology Committee and was a member of the Labor, Public Utilities and Railroad Industry committees of the House.[9] Mendoza served as Co-Chairwoman of the Conference of Women Legislators, and also co-founded the first Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus.[9]

Mendoza was a known critic of then Governor Rod Blagojevich's staff in 2007.[10] 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.[11] Mendoza took an unpaid leave from her job as a project coordinator with Chicago when she went to Springfield for legislative business.[11] In 2008, she also voted to expand red-light camera ticket enforcement.[12]

Mendoza served as an Illinois Democratic delegate in the primary elections for presidential candidates Al Gore in 2000 and for John Kerry in 2004.[13] In 2002, she visited the African countries of Uganda and Tanzania as a delegate for the American Council of Young Political Leaders.[14] 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.[14]

In 2011, Mendoza gave a speech[15] to nominate Michael J. Madigan as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. She praised him, saying, "I've had the privilege to serve under his unparalleled leadership for 10 years now, only a quarter of the time Illinois has benefitted from his almost 40 years of stewardship." "Over the last decade, I've observed his skills as a leader and a man who time and time again has demonstrated his passion and love for this state and has consistently put Illinois first. "His work ethic is unmatched. He is steeped in discipline, laser-focused and impossible to unnerve. He's a brilliant politician, tactician and public servant, and a great man whose commitment to Illinois is only matched by that to his family. While many aspire to be like him, there is only one Michael J. Madigan..."[16] Mendoza has also called the Illinois Speaker her political mentor[17]  

Chicago City Clerk[edit]

Mendoza during her tenure as clerk

Mendoza was the first woman elected City Clerk in Chicago.[18] In 2011, shortly after being elected as Chicago City Clerk, she took charge of an office responsible for more than $100 million in annual revenue from vehicle stickers.[19] Mendoza spearheaded the Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Ordinance which banned Chicago pet stores from selling dogs, cats, or rabbits unless the animals are sourced from humane shelters or animal rescues.[20]

Illinois Comptroller[edit]

Mendoza ran for Illinois Comptroller in the 2016 special election, defeating the Republican incumbent Leslie Munger by 5% of the votes cast.[21][22]

Mendoza was elected during a special election to fill out the remaining two years of the term won by the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.[22]

Mendoza took office amid a 2-year budget impasse between the Governor and the General Assembly.[23][24] In 2017, Politico named Mendoza to its national list of "18 to watch in 2018."[25]

In her first year in office, Mendoza worked to pass the Debt Transparency Act, which provides residents and legislators with a monthly accounting of the debts owed by every state agency.[26] Though then-Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed the legislation, Republican and Democratic members of the House of Representatives overrode the veto with a 52 to 3 vote.[27]

2019 Chicago mayoral candidacy[edit]

Mendoza with supporters during the December 2018 Mayoral Forum at the Copernicus Center

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 and was criticized as running for two offices at once.[28][29] Two weeks later on November 14, Mendoza launched her mayoral campaign to replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel.[1]

On December 14, 2018, rival candidate Toni Preckwinkle challenged Mendoza's 12,500 petitions, which are required to appear on the ballot in February.[30] Preckwinkle claimed that there were "a pattern of fraud, duplicate signatures, signatures that don't match addresses and faulty page numbers".[30] On December 19, 2018, after a petition challenge was held to verify if Mendoza's signatures were valid, Preckwinkle conceded the challenge as it was discovered that Mendoza had more than 13,000 valid signatures.[31]

In recent polling data, Mendoza is a front-runner candidate for Mayor.[32] It has been suggested by some that due to Mendoza's close relationship with Rahm Emanuel, that her candidacy could be seen as Mayor Emanuel's third term.[33] In 2015 Mendoza served as co-chair of the Mayor's reelection campaign in 2015.[33]

Her campaign has been endorsed by labor activist Dolores Huerta[34] and LIUNA Chicago Laborers’ District Council.[35]

Other work[edit]

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.[36]

Personal life[edit]

In December 2011, Mendoza married David Szostak, who attended Bolingbrook High School with her.[2] In 2012, their son, David Quinten Szostak was born.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "Eight days after winning comptroller election, Susana Mendoza announces run for Chicago mayor". Chicago Tribune. November 14, 2018. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Family". Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  3. ^ "Susana Mendoza is Running for Chicago Mayor [Video]". Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  4. ^ "Bolingbrook grad Mendoza announces Chicago mayor run". The Herald. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  5. ^ "State Comptroller Susana Mendoza Running for Chicago Mayor". WTTW. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Zelchenko, Peter (2003). It Happened Four Years Ago: Mayor Daley's Brutal Conquest of Chicago's First Ward. Chicago: VolumeOne Press. ISBN 096774895X.
  7. ^ Spielman, Fran (14 November 2018). "Susana Mendoza already on the defensive on day one of mayoral campaign". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  8. ^ Hernandez Gomez, Carlos (16 March 2000). "Local Opposition: State representative Edgar Lopez has the support of everyone from Michael Madigan to George Ryan. So why is a challenge from Cynthia Soto making him sweat?". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Illinois General Assembly - Representative Susana Mendoza". Illinois General Assembly. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  10. ^ Miller, Rich (2008-08-11). "Breathless". Capital Fax blog. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
  11. ^ a b Meitrodt, Jeffrey (2008-08-08). "Blagojevich accuses 10 Chicago Democrats of 'killing' public works project". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Susana A. Mendoza, Illinois Comptroller, to be Feature Speaker at the 2018 IPPFA Illinois Pension Conference". Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Our Campaigns - Susana Mendoza". Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Mendoza to become first female city clerk". ABC. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  19. ^ "Chicago blows through police OT budget by $23 million". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  20. ^ "Amendment of Municipal Code Chapter 4-384 by adding new Section 015 to regulate retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits". Office of the City Clerk. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  21. ^ Pearson, Rick (22 September 2015). "City Clerk Mendoza gets major union backing in state comptroller bid". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  22. ^ a b Sotonoff, Jamie (8 November 2016). "Mendoza beats Munger in Illinois comptroller race bid". Daily Herald. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  23. ^ Mackey, Brian. "Interview: I shouldn't have this much power". NPR Illinois. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  24. ^ Ryssdal, Kai. "What happens when a state has $15 billion worth of unpaid bills?". Marketplace. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  25. ^ Korecki, Natasha. "18 to Watch in 2018". Politico. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  26. ^ "COMPTROLLER MENDOZA URGES GOVERNOR RAUNER TO SIGN DEBT TRANSPARENCY ACT". State of Illinois Comptroller. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  27. ^ "STATE SENATE VOTES 52-3 TO OVERRIDE GOVERNOR'S VETO OF COMPTROLLER MENDOZA'S DEBT TRANSPARENCY ACT". State of Illinois Comptroller. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  28. ^ "Susana Mendoza video leaks out declaring 'I'm running for mayor of Chicago'". Chicago Sun-Times. November 2, 2018. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  29. ^ "Video clip leaks of state Comptroller Susana Mendoza announcing run for Chicago mayor". Chicago Tribune. November 3, 2018. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  30. ^ a b Toni Preckwinkle challenges Susana Mendoza's petitions in Chicago mayoral race
  31. ^ Preckwinkle drops challenge to Mendoza’s ballot signatures
  32. ^ "Mendoza Tops Mayoral Candidates in Polls" (PDF). Politico. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  33. ^ a b "Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza's Chicago Mayoral Announcement Leads to Barrage of Political Attacks". MSN. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  34. ^ Dolores Huerta Endorses Susana Mendoza
  36. ^ "Advisors". Let America Vote. Retrieved May 1, 2018.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Leslie Munger
Comptroller of Illinois