Stephanie Mendoza, 28, is the only candidate for Evanston City Clerk whose name will actually appear on the Feb. 23 ballot. All the other contenders are running write-in campaigns.
Mendoza offered the following information on her background and what she views as the key issues in the campaign in response to an Evanston Now questionnaire.
I moved to Evanston in 2010 with my husband Edwin and our oldest son Emir, who was still a baby at the time. Evanston clearly embodied the values we wanted to build our family around and it still does today. Since then, we started a local business, had two more wonderful children, and have actively participated in community causes and organizations.
I am the daughter of immigrants and the first person in my family to graduate from college. While finishing my undergraduate degree, I raised my family and worked full-time, eventually starting the local business with my husband that we continue to operate today.
Some of the truly wonderful community organizations in Evanston were key in helping me succeed, including the Childcare Network of Evanston, Infant Welfare Society, and Reba Early Learning Center.
That experience inspired me to serve in several community service roles, including Policy Council President for Evanston Childcare Network, Reba Early Learning Center Board President, and as an interpreter for District 65 schools.
Currently, I serve as Director of Community Outreach for Evanston Latinos, which promotes equity and inclusion for the immigrant, undocumented community, mixed status families and Latinx community in Evanston. I also recently served as a Prevention Specialist for Connections for the Homeless, where I worked with individuals and families struggling with housing.
I believe that good government starts with good practices. As a nonprofit leader and small business owner, I have the perspective to recognize the importance of consistent, unwavering attention to detail. I’m running for clerk to better serve our diverse, multilingual community access the records and services it needs.
If elected City Clerk, my top priorities will be to expand transparency and access to information.
To increase both, I will work to modernize the City Clerk’s office to allow residents to more easily track and review city activity online. Residents are entitled to know what their government is doing on their behalf and deserve an easy, efficient way to keep track. I will also create a program to better educate residents on the use of the Freedom of Information Act and other ways for them to access information.
In the interest of reaching traditionally-underserved communities, I believe the Clerk’s office should put renewed focus on community outreach. This would include organizing voter registration drives, sending staff to community events to answer questions and help residents, and working with the public to find new ways to connect with all our diverse residents.
Finally, as someone who learned to speak English as a second language, I recognize that language can be a real barrier to many in our community. To make Evanston a more inclusive place to live, the City Clerk’s office must be able to communicate with and provide vital information to all residents.
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