Chicago Democrat Dorothy Brown says she's running for her fourth term as clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County in the March 20 primary because she wants to continue modernization efforts and improve public access to court records.
Her opponent, Ricardo "Rick" Munoz, a 19-year Chicago alderman, says he's running because he wants to reform the office and "weed out corruption."
Both say they'd stay for the entirety of the four-year term, if elected.
Although Brown says she enjoys her job, she recently set her sights on higher office, including unsuccessful campaigns for mayor of Chicago and president of the Cook County Board.
"When I ran for those offices it was about service," said Brown, responding to questions about her commitment to serve out her term if elected.
Munoz insisted he would do just that.
"I pledge to serve the full term," he said.
"I do, too," Brown chimed in.
The clerk's office employs about 2,100 people who are responsible for keeping records for Cook County's court system, one of the largest in the world.
In a joint interview with the Daily Herald Editorial Board, Brown says she's running for re-election because "we still have more to do." Her goals include working with Cook County's Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans to establish a paperless courtroom and to expand e-filing.
Currently, electronic filing of court papers is available only for commercial litigation in Cook County's law division. E-filing is available in all civil cases in DuPage County and in law and arbitration cases in Will County, which are among the five counties participating in the Illinois Supreme Court's e-filing pilot program. The others are Saint Clair and Madison counties.
Munoz has criticized Brown's failure to implement e-filing countywide. She blames the delay on the Supreme Court which she says has suspended its expansion. Supreme Court spokesman Joseph Tybor declined to comment on the court's reasons for doing so.
Tybor did say the high court wants to move beyond the pilot program according to "standards that are in conformity throughout the state," including minimum system requirements, security, electronic access and reasonable fees.
Brown received endorsements from the Cook County Democratic Party and the Independent Voters of Illinois -- Independent Precinct Organization, among others. County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Appellate Court Judge Aurelia Pucinski are among the officials who have endorsed Munoz.