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Published on April 02, 2024
Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas Named City Hall's First Latina Chief of StaffSource: Google Street View

Chicago's City Hall ushers in a fresh face in the administration as Mayor Brandon Johnson appoints Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas as the new chief of staff, making history as the city's first Latina to hold the position, officials announced today. Pacione-Zayas steps up from her role as the First Deputy Chief of Staff, bringing her extensive background in public service, policy development, and advocacy to the forefront of city government.

In his announcement, Johnson praised the seasoned politician's commitment to the Windy City, emphasizing her depth of knowledge on pertinent issues ranging from housing to community safety to education and her leadership track record Pacione-Zayas is expected to play a pivotal role in furthering the administration's goals towards a more equitable and opportunistic cityscape. “Cristina's unparalleled dedication to our city, her depth of knowledge on critical issues affecting our neighborhoods like housing, community safety and education, and her proven track record of leadership make her the ideal person to serve as my next chief of staff,” Mayor Johnson said in a statement.

Before rising to her new zenith, Pacione-Zayas honed her policymaking skills within the Illinois State Senate, serving on key committees that touched upon education, health, human rights, and revenue, among others. Her body of work includes significant roles such as secretary to the Illinois State Board of Education and contributions to various strategic councils, that broadened her expertise in the realm of public programs and services.

Reflecting on her appointment, Dr. Pacione-Zayas acknowledged the weight of her new responsibility, vowing to leverage every available resource to breathe life into the city's collective dream of a more balanced society. “I am deeply honored to serve as Chief of Staff for Mayor Brandon Johnson and the City of Chicago,” she expressed, “This role presents a unique opportunity to advance our collective vision for a city determined to deliver equity and opportunity for all, and I am committed to leveraging every resource and partnership to make this vision a reality.”

Dr. Pacione-Zayas' prior experience includes a pivotal position at Erikson Institute where she championed initiatives for young children and families and worked closely with different Chicago communities to improve educational and restorative justice policies. Chicagoans and administration officials alike are now looking toward Dr. Pacione-Zayas to channel her profound dedication to public service into practical actions that align with the vision of fostering a thriving, inclusive city.