Anna Valencia

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Anna Valencia

Chicago City Clerk (2016 - )
Director, Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs for Mayor Rahm Emanuel (2016)
Principal, AVK Advisors (2015-2016)
Senior Advisor, Rahm for Chicago (2014-2015)

Appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in December to replace Susana Mendoza as City Clerk, Andrea "Anna" Valencia was officially sworn into office on January 25th, 2017, following unanimous approval by aldermen. Valencia will complete the remaining two years of Mendoza’s term, who is now the Illinois State Comptroller. Should Mayor Emanuel decide to run for a third term in 2019, Valencia will likely play a key role in the campaign as the Mayor’s surrogate. Like the City Treasurer post, the City Clerk is a city-wide, elected four-year position. Shortly after her appointment, Valencia created a campaign website and filed paperwork with the Illinois Board of Elections establishing her personal campaign fund, “Friends for Anna Valencia.”

A native of Granite City, Illinois, and having never held political office, Valencia’s selection to replace Mendoza was considered a surprise by many. There’s an unwritten rule in Chicago that the City Clerk is a Latino-held position, and several high-profile contenders were rumored to be under consideration, including Clarisol Duque, Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, and two Emanuel administration officials–Business and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek and Human Relations Commissioner Mona Noriega.

Five aldermen on the Latino Caucus were vying for the position as well, and sent a letter to Mayor Emanuel in November requesting he select one of them for the $133,545-a-year position. Those aldermen included Ald. Joe Moreno, Ald. George Cardenas, Ald. Raymond Lopez, Ald. Daniel Solis, and Ald. Ariel Reboyras. Mendoza, however, had publicly stated her preference that Deputy Carina Sanchez take over the office.

With a budget of $10 million for 2017, the City Clerk is in charge of maintaining all official documents and records for the city, from City Council legislation to over a million license and parking sticker applications a year. Valencia was also immediately tasked with designing and implementing a new Municipal ID program for undocumented residents. The 2017 budget included a $1 million appropriation to get the program off the ground, although President Donald Trump’s controversial stance on immigration threatens to hinder the effort. The mayor has also tasked Valencia with merging the City Clerk’s Office with another comparable city department, an idea first floated in 2011 by the Civic Federation.

Valencia has worked on and off for Mayor Emanuel over the past six years, starting as a field organizer during his first campaign in 2011, and later working as an assistant to the mayor under the Office of Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs (LCGA). LCGA–or more colloquially referred to as “IGA” or “the office of intergovernmental affairs”– plays a vital role in pushing the Mayor’s agenda through the City Council. As an employee of LCGA, Valencia focused her efforts on education initiatives and infrastructure projects. In 2013, Elle Magazine featured Valencia clad in designer dresses at City Hall for a photo spread on “The Politics of Power Dressing.”

In March 2016, Mayor Emanuel promoted Valencia as the new Director of LCGA, replacing Mike Rendina, who was offered the title of Senior Advisor to the Mayor. It was from this position that she advanced to Clerk.

In addition to her work at City Hall, Valencia has worked for several high-profile Illinois Democrats. Her start in politics began in 2008 as a field director for Chicago Congressman Mike Quigley, and later U.S. Senator Gary Peters then-congressional race in Michigan. Valencia later served as a communications staffer for Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, a deputy director for the Illinois State Democratic Victory Fund, and a campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin’s 2014 re-election bid.

Valencia was also the founder and principal of AVK Advisors, LLC, a strategy and government relations firm that now goes by Kazmi Advisors. The firm is named after her husband since 2013, Reyahd D.J. Kazmi. Kazmi is a consultant, former Chief of Staff for Chicago City Treasurer Stephanie Neely and has been a Commissioner of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations since 2014. AVK Advisors was a paid consultant for Donna Moore’s failed 2016 bid for Cook County State’s Attorney. Other clients included 43rd Ward Democratic Committeeman Lucy Moog and the non-profit Stand for Illinois Children. She’s also a mentor and founding member of the Associate Board for Chicago Scholars, a program that mentors first-generation college bound students.

Growing up in Southern Illinois, Valencia was raised by a union painter and a teacher's assistant. She was the first member of her family to attend college.

Valencia resides in West Town with her husband and dog, Jazzy.

Education

  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, B.A., International Studies

Important Political Events

  • 2008, Field Director, Gary Peters for Congress
  • 2009, Field Director, Mike Quigley
  • 2009, Communications Staffer, Office of Senate President John Cullerton
  • 2010, Deputy Director, Illinois State Democratic Victory Fund
  • 2010-2011, Field Director, Chicago for Rahm Emanuel
  • 2011-2014, Worked as an Assistant to Mayor Emanuel in the LCGA office
  • 2014, Campaign Manager, Durbin For Senate
  • 2015, Campaign staffer for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s re-election bid
  • 2016, Appointed Director of Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs for Rahm Emanuel, replacing Mike Rendina
  • 2017, City Council confirms Valencia as City Clerk, replacing Susana Mendoza

Sources