Brittany Miller wanted to become involved in local government. She believes the Tazewell County clerk's office is an appropriate vehicle.
Miller, a Washington resident, is the first Democrat to declare publicly her intention to run for clerk in 2018. She seeks to replace Christie Webb, a fellow Democrat who is not seeking a seventh four-year term.
The 39-year-old Miller, a stay-at-home parent, is a former social worker and former social-studies teacher at Pekin Community High School. She said she's always been aware of a need for citizen involvement in the political process, but that calling has become more intense for her in recent times.
"I believe that the local level is the best place to do that," Miller said Friday. "Those are the decisions that impact people's day-to-day lives.
"I think that many people feel their needs and their interests aren't represented. As clerk, I'd be honored to work on behalf of and for all the citizens."
Miller is a product of Build the Bench, a candidate-training program sponsored by U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos. Since January, Miller has been a Democratic precinct committeewoman in Washington.
"I was aware of what the party was thinking about in terms of the county, and at the same time I was considering my skills and my passion," she said. "Mutually, we came to this (race) as a good fit."
If elected, Miller said her goal is to maintain Webb's level of professionalism and efficiency. Miller intends to conduct candidate coffee meetings with Tazewell County voters to elicit their expectations for and experiences with the clerk's office.
Establishment of a social-media presence is a clerk's-office imperative, Miller suggested. She also mentioned engagement with county schools, to make sure students approaching voting age know the registration process.
"I think that having worked as both an educator and as a social worker, each role has called for me to engage and inform," Miller said. "I think I excel at that. I think you have to be organized to organize."
Miller is a native of Pearl City, in northwest Illinois. She and her husband, Matt Rampenthal, have two sons, ages 11 and 4. She also holds bachelor's degrees from Illinois State University and the University of Wisconsin.
A trio of Republicans is running for that party's clerk nomination: former County Board member John Ackerman; current County Board member Brett Grimm; and Shelly Hranka, the county auditor.
Ackerman was the GOP nominee in 2014, when he lost to Webb.
Nick Vlahos can be reached at 686-3285 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @VlahosNick.