SOS-Elect Giannoulias Announces Transition Chairs, Unveils Website for Public Input

Transition heads represent diverse group of well-revered civic, business and labor leaders

Illinois Secretary of State-Elect Alexi Giannoulias today announced the leaders of his transition team and launched a new website encouraging Illinoisans to submit their ideas for the office.

The transition team leaders make up a diverse group of civic, business and labor leaders with a wide range of interests and expertise with deep ties to Illinois. At Giannoulias’ direction, they will help formulate his administration’s priorities and lay the foundation for the work ahead in the Secretary of State’s office.

Giannoulias announced the chairs in a video today.

The co-chairs are: Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, of Moline, who represents the 17th Congressional District; Stephanie Neely, of Chicago, Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Asset Management North America Institutional Central and Canada; Martin Cabrera, of Chicago, the CEO/Founder of Cabrera Capital Markets and Cabrera Capital Partners; and Ed Smith, of Carbondale, who serves as CEO/President of Ullico and is a former leader of the Laborers International Union (LiUNA).

“I’m grateful for the wisdom and insights from my transition team leaders and we’ll be ready to hit the ground running when we take office in January,” Giannoulias said. “This is a talented, experienced team of individuals who are ready to confront the challenges and deliver solutions. We’re excited about the opportunities that lie ahead to modernize and improve efficiencies and look forward to working hard on behalf of all Illinoisans.”

Giannoulias also unveiled a new website – – that asks Illinoisans to submit their ideas and priorities for the office. “The Illinois Secretary of State’s office is the largest in the nation and more Illinoisans interact with it on a daily basis than any other state agency, so enlisting the public’s help and feedback is critical to achieving ways we can improve how it works and ways we can more effectively deliver services.”

Giannoulias, who will take office on January 9, will succeed current Secretary Jesse White who is stepping down after 24 years in the office. Giannoulias intends to announce committee members and specific areas of focus in the coming weeks.

Giannoulias’ campaign platform centered on: modernizing the office to cut wait times and lines; strengthening ethics laws to curb corruption; protecting voting rights and increasing registration opportunities; and enhancing libraries to increase access.

Meet the Transition Committee Chairs:

Cheri Bustos, Moline, Illinois Congresswoman – Illinois’ 17th Congressional District.

Cheri, who is serving her fifth term in Congress, is a member of the Democratic House Leadership team. In 2018, she was elected Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and secured party control of the U.S. House in 2020. Cheri has also served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and is an influential member of the House Agriculture Committee, chairing a subcommittee.  She is a founding member of Elect Democratic Women. Born in Springfield, Cheri began her professional career as a journalist working in the Quad-Cities.

“We’re excited to roll up our sleeves and help Alexi build his team and prioritize issues that his administration plans to tackle starting on Day One. We will begin to work on proposals aimed at solving significant challenges, like long lines and wait times. By offering more services online, Illinoisans will be able to avoid trips to the DMV.”

Martin Cabrera, Chicago, CEO/Founder of Cabrera Capital Markets and Cabrera Capital Partners

Martin is founder and CEO of Cabrera Capital Markets – one of the largest Latino-owned investment firms in the U.S., which provides global investment banking, institutional brokerage, and real estate development services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes financial institutions, states and municipalities, corporations, unions, foundations and endowments. Martin also served as chair of the Chicago Plan Commission for seven years. Last year, Crain’s Chicago Business named him on its Chicago Power 25 List.

“Over the next several weeks, we’re going to address specific issues that Alexi laid out during his campaign that are of great interest and concern to Illinois citizens. We’ll start with looking into ways to improve the customer experience at driver’s license facilities by employing new technology and begin exploring new initiatives that will make streets safer, protect voting rights, curb ethics abuses, increase library access and streamline business services.”

Stephanie Neely, Chicago, Managing Director, Head, J.P. Morgan Asset Management North America Institutional Central and Canada

Stephanie leads the North America Institutional Central U.S. & Canada team at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. She’s also a member of the North America Institutional management team and the Asset Management CEO’s Black Employees Roundtable and that worked on improving the DEI data transparency and disclosure. Prior to that, Stephanie served as vice president and assistant treasurer at Allstate. In 2006, she was elected Chicago City Treasurer where she served two terms.

“This transition team shares Alexi’s commitment to making government work better with the strong underlying belief that the Secretary State’s Office plays an integral role in people’s lives. Through the transition process, we will articulate and develop the foundation for the wide-ranging work of the office and its strategic priorities to create opportunities for Illinoisans.

Edward M. Smith, Carbondale, CEO/President of ULLICO, Inc., and former leader of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA)

Ed is CEO and President of ULLICO, Inc. (Union Labor Life Insurance Company) based in Washington, DC.  He previously served as Vice President and Regional Manager of Laborers’ International Union of North America. Ed is the former Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Investment and served as a member of the Democratic National Committee.

“As Secretary of State, Alexi’s goal is to make the office work better for more people and confront challenges that will help restore our trust in government and their elected officials. We look forward to helping Alexi deliver on his promises, and we intend to tap the office’s potential to make it the best Secretary of State’s office in the country.”