Susana Mendoza has led a Transparency Revolution as Illinois Comptroller. She passed the landmark Debt Transparency Act, which has opened up the state’s books, giving legislators up-to-date information for the first time to draft budgets. Newspapers around the country have praised her as the gold standard of transparency on COVID spending and encouraged their own state governments to follow her example.
She has transformed an office that was speed paying connected consultants as nursing homes and hospice centers went six months or more without getting paid by the state to one that prioritizes payments to those who care for the state’s most vulnerable.
Born in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood to parents that emigrated from Mexico to pursue the American Dream and raised in the Chicago suburbs, Illinois Comptroller Suzanna A .Mendoza has been overcoming the odds and breaking barriers since she became the 1st female to ever make it onto Bolingbrook High School’s Wall of Fame. As the only girl on the boys soccer teams, she learned how to stand up for herself and excel.
First elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 2000 to represent the Chicago neighborhood she was born in, Mendoza was the youngest member of the 92nd Illinois General Assembly at only 28 years old. Mendoza co-founded the 1st Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus, led the charge to impeach Governor Blagojevich, and championed legislative initiatives for education, public safety, animal welfare, social services and job creation.
After serving 10 years in the General Assembly, Mendoza in 2011 was elected as the first woman to serve as Chicago City Clerk. She fought to save taxpayers time and money by completely overhauling the city’s archaic vehicle sticker program, creating the offices first-ever customer call center, and cutting her office’s budget.
Finally, Comptroller Mendoza won one of the most expensive state races in the country to fill the remaining two years of the late Judy Barr Topinka’s four year term. Since then, comptroller Mendoza has used her office to fight for the working families, stand up to corruption, and hold other elected officials to the same high standard of fiscal responsibility that she holds herself.
Comptroller Mendoza’s leadership and laser focused approach to paying down the state’s backlog of unpaid bills, from an all-time of $16.7 billion during the infamous budget impasse, down to about $4 billion today, has led to the state’s first credit upgrades in 20 years.