Iris Y. Martinez is a lifelong Chicagoan and mother to her daughter. She began her career in the mailroom of City Hall and worked her way up to serve in top positions in the Mayor’s administration, all while raising her daughter as a single mother. In 2003, she ran for office and became the first Latina elected to the Illinois State Senate. In 2007, she again made history for women and minorities by working her way up to serve as the Assistant Majority Leader.
As a state senator, Clerk Martinez advocated for and sponsored legislation aimed at expanding affordable housing, protecting women’s reproductive rights, providing hearing-impaired or non-English speaking citizens access to language-assistance in courtrooms, and improving care for seniors. Martinez, an Independent Progressive Democrat, successfully sponsored the legislation that enshrined gay marriage and equal protections for the LGBTQ community into the law in Illinois.
In 2020, Iris was elected to become the Clerk of the Circuit Court, again making history for the Latino community. In less than one term, she has completed the following highlights:
-Implemented innovative technology to automate the second largest unified court system in the world, during a pandemic. This included the process to digitize 70 million records.
-Opened up a Domestic Violence Survivors Center, a safe place where survivors and their children can come to receive care and services.
-Launched the Expungement Center, where the staff members assist those with nonviolent convictions to get their charges expunged from their records. We also handled a backlog of almost 6,000 requests. This helps individuals with jobs, education, and housing options.
-Reformed the hiring and promotional processes and received “substantial compliance” from the Federal Judge administering the office’s Shakman decree. This determination ended Federal oversight that costs taxpayers millions per year.
-Opened an Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court Call Center to help citizens navigate the court system. The Center has handled over 319,000 calls since opening in 2023.
-Initiated health and safety protocols during the Covid 19 pandemic for staff and the citizens. This also included setting up a virtual court system.
-Began hosting “Clerk in the Community” events, which brings legal aid, expungements, child support, and other services into the communities to alleviate the need for residents to have to come to a courthouse.
-Worked with prestigious universities and partners to enhance transparency in the court system, including data regarding our public safety.
Iris Martinez also proudly serves as the Chair of the Hispanic Caucus for the Democratic National Committee, a position President Barack Obama recommended her for. She will play a critical role in the upcoming, 2024 Democratic Convention held in Chicago.
She is also the President of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators and the City of Chicago’s 33rd Ward Democratic Committeeperson.
Paid for by Iris for Cook County Circuit Court Clerk. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the board's official website or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.