- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday appointed a 31-year-old member of his administration to be the next city clerk, taking over for Susana Mendoza, who left the position to become the state comptroller.

Anna Valencia has been the director of the mayor’s Office of Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs. Her appointment is subject to the city council’s approval, but she’ll begin the job in the interim, according to city officials.

The clerk oversees records for the city, including the city council’s official legislative files. Most city residents interact with the clerk’s office when applying for parking permits or vehicle stickers.

“Anna has proven herself as the next generation of leadership,” Emanuel said of Valencia, who is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant. “For parents of immigrants, in Chicago and around the country, Anna is proof the struggle and sacrifice is worth it.”

He said Valencia was chosen over several aldermen and a state legislator.

Valencia called the new job an honor, saying at a news conference that she looks forward to building on “commonsense reforms” of her predecessor. That includes implementing and expanding the new municipal identification program, which will be available to all city residents regardless of immigration status.

She touched on her roots as a first-generation college graduate.

“I understand how hard people work so their children can have the best opportunities available to them,” she said. “I want to bring that same spirit to everything I do for the city of Chicago.”

Valencia has also been involved in elections, serving as a campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin’s re-election campaign. She’s also worked in communications for Illinois Senate President John Cullerton.

The city clerk job pays about $133,000 a year.

Mendoza, who was elected to a second clerk term in 2015, won the state comptroller job over Republican incumbent Leslie Munger in a special election last month. The four-year post was open midterm because of the vacancy left by Judy Baar Topinka’s death. The Republican died shortly after her 2014 re-election. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner named Munger, a former business executive, as Topinka’s replacement but the appointment expired.

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Follow Sophia Tareen on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sophiatareen .

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Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, https://chicago.suntimes.com/


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