CITY HALL — Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wednesday chose the city's top lobbyist to be the new Chicago City Clerk.
Anna Valencia, the director of legislative counsel and government affairs, will begin serving as city clerk immediately, the mayor's office announced.
Valencia, 31, replaces Susana Mendoza, who is now the Illinois comptroller.
She praised Mendoza "for blazing a trail" for Latina politicians.
Emanuel said Valencia would "build on" the accomplishments of Mendoza.
"I am honored and humbled," Valencia said, paying tribute to her father and mother.
In picking Valencia, Emanuel rejected both the endorsement of Mendoza — who urged the mayor to appoint her top aide Carina Sanchez to replace her — and the recommendation of the City Council's Latino Caucus, who recommended one of four aldermen to replace Mendoza: Ald. George Cardenas (12th), Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th), Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30st) and Ald. Danny Solis (25th).
Solis later took his name out of the running.
Emanuel said he considered "a lot of qualified" applicants for the clerk's position, but saw something of himself in Valencia, and was impressed that she grew "in each challenge" she faced.
Valencia's top priority will be establishing a municipal identification card for undocumented immigrants, the mayor's office said.
Emanuel said he had also asked Valencia to expand the identification card to apply to not only to undocumented immigrants but also homeless youth as well as ex-offenders.
In addition, Emanuel asked Valencia to bring him a report in six to nine months on whether the city's comptroller's office should be combined with the clerk's office.
"[Valencia] is going to take the clerk's office into the next phase," Emanuel said.
Valencia, who lives in West Town with her husband and dog, served as the city's top lobbyist for eight months, helping to push the mayor's agenda through the City Council.
Before joining the mayor's staff, Valencia ran U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin’s 2014 campaign.
The $133,545-a-year position has been held by a Latino politician since former Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed former state Sen. Miguel Del Valle in 2006.
Emanuel had indicated he planned to appoint a Latino to finish Mendoza's term, which ends in 2019. The appointment must be confirmed by the council.
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