Candidate Profile: Jesse White

Get ready for the 2018 Election

Voters in Belleville and Southern Illinois have several important decisions to make on Nov. 6.
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Voters in Belleville and Southern Illinois have several important decisions to make on Nov. 6.

Name: Jesse White

Office seeking: Illinois Secretary of State

Party: Democratic

Age: 84

City of residence: Chicago

Campaign website: www.JesseWhite2018.com

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I am running for re-election because I am energized and passionate to continue serving the great state of Illinois as Secretary of State. I love the job and I believe people should vote for me because of my record and accomplishments we have achieved as Secretary of State. Wait times in Driver Services facilities are shorter than ever before. The culture of the office, once beset by scandal and corruption, has been overhauled and changed to one that vigorously pursues and roots out any form of wrongdoing or unethical behavior. The roads of Illinois are among the safest in the nation. Since we established our state’s nationally recognized Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program, teen driving deaths in Illinois have dropped by more than 50 percent. Our innovative Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) program was one of the first of its kind in the nation, and drunk driving deaths have been cut in half during my tenure. National studies highlight Illinois as a national leader in traffic safety as a result. I am proud of these accomplishments as well as many others that my administration has achieved. But I have more to give and much more I would like to do as Secretary of State.

What qualifications do you have for this position? I believe my qualifications for this position can be outlined in my administration’s achievements, several of which were listed in question 8. In addition to improving road safety and improving customer service and expanding the number of transactions that can be conducted online, we have also grown the Organ and Tissue Donor Registry to more than 6.5 million through new laws and creative promotional and public awareness campaigns. In regard to my background, I have a great deal of experience in public service. I have served as State Representative, Cook County Recorder of Deeds and now as Secretary of State. I proudly served our country in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, which instilled in me the drive to work hard, be the best I can be and always finish what I start. In 1959, I founded the Jesse White Tumbling Team to combat juvenile delinquency and help guide at-risk youth on the path to success. And for 33 years I worked in the Chicago Public Schools system as a teacher and administrator.

What changes would you make to the Secretary of State’s office and why? My top three priorities as Secretary of State have been to make the roads of Illinois as safe as possible, to eliminate the culture of corruption that had been part of the history of the office and to use technology to make the process more efficient and faster for our customers. We have accomplished much in these areas, but it requires constant attention and vigilance to maintain a high level of service.

What is the most important issue facing the Secretary of State’s office? How would you handle it? There are many important issues facing this office, ranging from road safety to customer service to maintaining zero tolerance on institutional corruption to growing the organ and tissue donor registry. But if I had to select one I would say road safety because our efforts literally save lives. Through our heralded Graduated Driver Licensing program for teen drivers, we have seen teen driving fatalities drop by more than 50 percent. Our comprehensive efforts to combat drunk driving earned our state a 5-star rating from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), but more importantly cut in half the number of alcohol-related crash fatalities. I will continue looking for ways to improve upon our traffic safety laws. We recently passed a law cracking down further on texting while driving – ensuring any conviction results in a moving violation entered on a motorist’s driving record. Additionally, I am proposing legislation that would require judges to indicate the reason they are rescinding a statutory summary suspension. This would bring more accountability in dealing with DUI penalties.

Would you term limit yourself? If so, how many terms? I do not believe in term limits. Elections allow the public the ability to reward successful performance and penalize those who they think have failed.