PEORIA — Rachael Parker made it official Wednesday afternoon: She's running for county clerk.
"I thank you for your prayers, your support and, most of all, your vote on March 17, 2020," she said, flanked by supporters by the Abraham Lincoln statue in front of the Peoria County Courthouse.
Parker was appointed last month to the office, succeeding Steve Sonnemaker, who died in June. Her appointment lasts through Dec. 1, 2020, and her candidacy is for the Democratic nomination to fill the remaining two years of the term.
She suggested that ensuring the first impressions her office offers is critical.
"When you walk into the courthouse, the first office you see is our office," Parker said. "Customer service is key."
On that score, she said her nine years on the County Board, three years on the Peoria Public Schools board and time in economic development posts for the cities of Peoria and Chillicothe will help with her work in the clerk's office — as will time running her own business, Sweet Cakes by Rachael.
"I've got a wide background in both city and county government, so I believe that, as well as knowing how to be a business owner and working with people, is just going to enhance what I can do with the office," Parker said.
She said she intends to present additional, specific proposals for the office as the campaign continues.
When appointed, Parker had said she didn't intend to seek election, but she said Wednesday that her mind changed over the last few weeks "after much prayer, the support of my family, friends and community leaders — and especially a push from the Peoria County community."
Gabe McLeod, who is a deputy in the clerk's office, announced last month that he is also seeking the Democratic nomination for the position.