Endorsement: Iris Martinez for Cook Circuit Court clerk
The office of Cook County circuit court clerk has been the subject of scandalous headlines for years, but voters have a chance to clean it up with the departure of incumbent Dorothy Brown, who chose not to seek reelection after 20 tumultuous years.
Her likely successor is State Sen. Iris Y. Martinez of Chicago, who we heartily endorse in her race against Republican Barbara Bellar, an earnest and perennial candidate from Burr Ridge who also has filed in several counties for status as a write-in possibility for president of the United States.
To her credit, Bellar, a doctor and lawyer, has a strong grasp of the issues in the clerk's office, but she lacks the experience that would help her successfully address them.
In Martinez, meanwhile, the voters have an experienced Democratic state legislator who is no shrinking violet.
She is a leader who chairs the Democratic National Committee's Hispanic Caucus and has been a state party committeewoman for 26 years.
With considerable fanfare, she has taken on powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan and called on him to resign his state party chairmanship or his speakership or both.
She's equally straightforward in her pronouncements that reform is on the way in the court clerk's office. She declares in no uncertain terms that there will be a housecleaning and that those who stand in the way of reform will be shown the door.
She plans to implement a Cook County circuit court Clerk's Model Code of Conduct that bans political contributions from employees and vendors doing business at the clerk's office and with county government.
She promises to modernize technology in the office, but also to deliver "modernization and reform of its culture" to make it easier for people to interact with the court system.
"I will end the neglect, mismanagement and corruption that has plagued the Cook County circuit court Clerk's Office for decades," Martinez says, "and help usher in a new era rooted in government reforms."
Enough said. She has our vote.