Susana Mendoza launched her campaign for Mayor of Chicago this morning, committing to a vision that invests in the future of Chicago and its neighborhoods.
A fiscal watchdog and fierce proponent of government transparency, Mendoza has spent the past two years leading the resistance against Governor Bruce Rauner while expanding government transparency and cutting the state’s bill backlog in half as the twice-elected Illinois Comptroller. Her campaign released a video Wednesday morning announcing her candidacy.
“Chicago is so many things: gritty, hardworking, welcoming,” Mendoza says in the video. “It’s a city of neighborhoods, of all kinds of people. And it must become the city of the future.”
In addition to her work as Comptroller, Mendoza has a long record of public service as a state representative in the Illinois Legislature, where she wrote and passed legislation that saved the jobs of 3,000 teachers who would have lost them due to antiquated immigration rules and created the Illinois School Breakfast Program. As Chicago City Clerk, Mendoza modernized the city’s 105 year-old sticker program so people would not have to wait in line for hours and fought Mayor Emanuel’s efforts to dramatically raise city sticker prices.
Mendoza, 46, was born in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood but at age 7 her family was forced to move after someone was murdered on their block.
“My parents were like so many parents traumatized by gun violence every day in this city,” Mendoza said. “They felt like they had to leave. No family should have to leave their city because their neighborhood isn’t safe.”
After graduating from college, Mendoza moved back to Little Village because she wanted to make a difference there for other families. She was elected to six terms, representing the Southwest side district in the Illinois House of Representatives.
“What happens in any neighborhood, what happens anywhere, affects all of us everywhere,” Mendoza said. “Every parent in Chicago should be able to expect that when they send their child to a neighborhood school, they will get a good education and, most importantly, they’ll come home safely.”
Mendoza certainly understands the importance of safe neighborhoods and a quality education. She and her husband, David, currently live in Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood with their 5-year-old son who attends a neighborhood Chicago Public School. And they know what it’s like to get a big property tax hike in the mail.
“The job of mayor isn’t for a caretaker or someone who protects the status quo,” Mendoza said.
“Every Chicagoan deserves a mayor who every waking moment, every day asks herself one fundamental question: Did I do enough?”
“This election is about the next generation, not just the next four years.”