* ABC7 on yesterday’s Democratic secretary of state candidate forum…
Giannoulias launched his own new ad with a flurry of news clips about Valencia’s questionable dealings to help her lobbyist husband, Rayahd Kazmi.
It comes as new emails and texts suggest Kazmi was looking for his wife’s help in 2019 and 2020 to land a contract for a digital billboard business in the Illinois Medical District.
“People are sick and tired of lobbyists and her using the office to enrich her and her husband,” Giannoulias said. “Those aren’t my words, those are the media who has requested these FOIA’s and has noticed what’s taking place.”
Valencia denies any wrongdoing.
“We’re gonna be out here talking about the facts and we’re not going to be bullied out of this race,” she said.
Alexi, your 19 largest campaign contributions this cycle are from registered lobbying entities.
Valencia acknowledged mistakes in having her husband, Reyahd Kazmi, copied on city clerk office emails that were obtained by the Tribune and other media and have raised suspicions about possible conflicts.
“When I came into public office there are some growing pains you have,” said Valencia, who has been city clerk since 2017, “and I had to live them out very publicly these few weeks or a month and I wish I would’ve been more careful with my emails, and my personal and professional emails. I will own that.”
“There will be the strongest firewall between my husband and I,” she said. “We have separate careers and if I’m elected secretary of state, he’ll not do any business with the state of Illinois.”
Um, the problem wasn’t that he was copied on emails, the problem was what was in the emails. And maybe start by saying he will no longer be doing any business with the city of Chicago.
[Valencia] also talked about establishing a similar program to one she oversees as city clerk, the CityKey program that is designed to help immigrants or undocumented Chicagoans use a single ID as a library card, a transit and a prescription discount card.
Valencia is married to Reyahd Kazmi, a lobbyist who is a consultant for IGNITE — a company that provided technology for Chicago’s CityKey program.
Hard, hard sigh.
* Press release…
Democratic Secretary of State candidate Anna Valencia released the following statement today challenging Alexi Giannoulias to debates ahead of the June 28 primary:
“Alexi Giannoulias has been skipping forums, dodging tough questions from political reporters and relying on allies to attack me because he doesn’t want to answer for his failures as a banker, state treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate. But Democratic primary voters deserve to hear the candidates for Secretary of State debate the issues of the day and our plans for the office. That’s why I’m challenging Alexi to participate in debates, hosted by major media outlets, over the next several weeks. Early voting has begun – we cannot wait any longer. I have answered, and will continue to answer, any question that comes my way. Alexi must do the same. We cannot continue to have an empty chair in his place.”
In recent weeks, Giannoulias has skipped the following forums that Valencia and David Moore have attended:
• Clergy of Interfaith forum (5/18)
• East PAC/East St. Louis Dems (5/7)
• Chicagoland Chamber PAC (5/3)
• Illinois PIRG & College Dems (4/12)
* David Moore…
The Illinois secretary of state’s race is too important for Anna Valencia or any other candidate to decide who should be a part of any televised debates.
I am in full agreement that Illinois voters need to hear from all of the candidates in the secretary of state’s race. This is the first time the seat has been vacant in more than 20 years and there are millions of Illinois residents who are too young to remember when the secretary of state’s office was mired in scandal and corruption. Illinoisans deserve a candidate who will serve them and not themselves or their families. We don’t need another secretary of state using the seat as a steppingstone to run for governor or senator. We need a nominee in the general election who is electable.
To date, I have appeared at candidate forums with Republican candidate Dan Brady more than my Democratic opponents. Television ads should not be a substitute for real debate. I urge the major television networks to treat this race with the same importance they are giving the governor’s race. The secretary of state’s office is the second most important office in the state and touches nearly every Illinois resident.
The contest for Illinois secretary of state is a tight race and regardless of money and/or clout all of the Democratic candidates should be invited to any televised debates the major broadcast networks decide to schedule.