Susana’s Biography

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Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza is the first Hispanic independently elected to statewide office in Illinois.

Susana A. Mendoza was elected Illinois Comptroller on November 8, 2016. She is the first Hispanic independently elected to statewide office in Illinois.

A tested and proven executive officer, Susana has successfully navigated the State through unprecedented fiscal challenges, in a way that doesn’t put the burden on the backs of the working-class families that make Illinois such a great place to live.

As Comptroller, Mendoza brought the same tenacity, passion, and creativity that she always exhibited throughout her career in public service.

She is an independent, truth-telling, fiscal watchdog that prioritizes both the fiscal and moral health of the State. Mendoza has worked to enhance the overall internal control environment of the State to run a more effective, transparent, and efficient office.

Biography Headshot Susana A. Mendoza

“Primary architect of Illinois’ financial turnaround”

As the state’s Chief Fiscal and Accountability Officer, Susana has championed greater transparency in the state’s fiscal accounts. Her historic hallmark transparency reform legislation, the Debt Transparency Act, passed over Governor Rauner’s veto, requires state agencies to report monthly, rather than only once a year, their accrued liabilities as well as late payment interest penalties associated with those liabilities.

Building upon that success, she spearheaded the Truth in Hiring Act to ensure that future governors present honest budgets that accurately reflect the size and cost of their staff. Mendoza is laser-focused on shining a greater light on the state’s finances in order to best protect how taxpayers’ dollars are spent, provide greater accountability, and set the state on a better path towards responsible cash and debt management.

Beyond these historic transparency reforms, Comptroller Mendoza is the primary architect of Illinois’ financial turnaround. She slashed the state’s backlog of unpaid bills by over 75%, from a staggering $16.7 billion bill backlog to under $4 billion, without using federal stimulus funds.

She has focused on paying down debt service early, saving taxpayers millions in interest payments. She brought the state’s vendor payment cycle down from a strangling 210 working days to well under 30 days – the fastest vendor payment cycle in over 20 years, and her fiscal leadership helped secure Illinois’ first credit upgrades in over two decades – in the middle of a global pandemic.

Prior to her statewide election, she made history by becoming the first woman ever elected as Chicago City Clerk. Under Mendoza’s leadership, more than 1.3 million Chicago City Vehicle Sticker customers were shifted from an inefficient and archaic seasonal sales program to Year-Round Sales. The new system, modeled after the Illinois Secretary of State’s license plate renewal program, resulted in millions of dollars of new revenue and vastly improved customer service at a lower cost to taxpayers. The program was awarded a 2015 “Bright Idea Award” from Harvard University.

As City Clerk, Mendoza also took on the puppy mill industry, successfully authoring and passing a City-wide ban on the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores unless they are sourced from humane shelters or rescue organizations.

Prior to her service as City Clerk, Mendoza served six terms between 2001 and 2011 as a Democrat in the Illinois House of Representatives.

Starting as the youngest member of the 92nd Illinois General Assembly, she quickly earned a reputation as a tenacious and effective legislator, who stood out for her bipartisan approach to governing. Mendoza was routinely recognized for her leadership in the areas of social services, education, law enforcement, job creation, and animal welfare.

Mendoza served as Co-Chairperson of the Conference of Women Legislators and has served three times as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. She is a co-founder of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus and a member of HOPE (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality) Binational Fellowship Program. She is a proud Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow.

Mendoza has been part of the US Department of State’s Professional Speaker’s Program, which aims to promote democracy and leadership across the globe, in places like Uganda, Tanzania, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, and Chile. She was also Chairman of the Illinois International Trade and Commerce Committee.

Biography Susana A. Mendoza

In 2010, Mendoza was selected by the National Conference of Women Legislators, at the behest of the US Secretary of State, to serve as one of only seven elected women representing the United States as an international observer of the Iraqi elections in Baghdad.

Mendoza is happily married and lives in Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood with her husband David, their nine-year-old son, and her 86-year-old mother. She is a foodie, a soccer fan (and former collegiate soccer player), and occasionally loves jumping out of perfectly fine airplanes.

Susana A. Mendoza