Way to go, Jesse White

May 21, 2014 

You've got to admire the pluck of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. He believes that Matt Mitchell -- the former Illinois trooper who lost control of his car while driving 126 mph and crashed, killing two sisters -- shouldn't get his driver's license back. And so White himself, not some underling, has denied Mitchell's requests for reinstatement, even though a hearing officer recommended giving Mitchell back his license.

White's spokesman didn't play coy, use weasel words or try to avoid responsibility for the decision. He acknowledged that White made the call.

This sort of purposeful, heartfelt leadership has been a hallmark of White's administration and why he's so popular with voters. In the wake of the license-buying scandal during George Ryan's administration, White worked diligently to end the culture of corruption in the Secretary of State's Office. When people complained about long waits at the driver's license office in Belleville, he saw to it that the problem was fixed.

And when disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich decided to appoint Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate even though he was about to be impeached, White refused to sign the appointment paperwork. That ultimately didn't stop Blagojevich, but White's refusal earned him high praise.

Maybe Mitchell eventually will find a judge who will overrule White, but for now it's good to see an elected leader take a principled stand to keep Mitchell from getting behind the wheel of a car.

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