Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas speaks during a virtual event hosted by six Northwest Side independent political organizations on Wednesday.

Days after she was sworn in as Cook County’s first new clerk of the circuit court in 20 years, Iris Martinez faces a daunting list of challenges, including overhauling the office’s electronic records system and navigating a federal hiring monitor.

But first, Martinez has to help find someone to take her old job in the Illinois State Senate, and she believes she has already found her choice in Cristina Pacione-Zayas, she told The Daily Line on Thursday. Pacione-Zayas has spent nearly five years overseeing policy for the Erikson Institute, a graduate school and community service provider focused on early childhood education, and in 2019 she was appointed by Gov. JB Pritzker to serve on the Illinois State Board of Education.

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