Name: Jason Helland
Office seeking: Illinois Secretary of State
City of residence: Mazon
Campaign website: jasonhelland.com
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I have a proven track record of being fiscally conservative as an elected official and reduced my budget in my very first year in office as Grundy County State’s Attorney. The current incumbent has shown that he has failed to act independently. He is Mike Madigan’s chief patronage officer. In fact, he has been stating that he has wanted to retire for the past 10 years. The only reason he won’t retire is because he controls Madigan’s jobs. Jesse White has shown time and time again that he represents Michael Madigan’s agenda and not the residents of Illinois. During the last budget impasse, Madigan hid $40 million in the SOS budget. White took $40 million and built a school in Madigan and Barbara Flynn Currie’s district. This was a completely partisan move and was also unlawful. It is not within the SOS’s constitutional, statutory, or administrative authority to build schools! I have shown as State’s Attorney that I act in a nonpartisan, independent manner. Every day I must balance the interests of crime victims, criminal defendants, public safety, law enforcement, and the judiciary. At the end of the day, I make independent decisions that I believe are right. I am not bought and paid for and will not hesitate to question someone when I believe they are out of line regardless of party affiliation. I am running for Secretary of State to represent the residents of Illinois and no one else.
What qualifications do you have for this position? Not only do I hold a law degree and run a fiscally sound and productive public office currently, but I am also of sound mind and memory and want to do the job. White is the longest-serving Secretary of State in the history of the State and has no intention of completing this term if elected. A vote for White is a vote for Madigan’s appointment. Also, I am the only candidate that has the health to do this vigorous job. I have traveled all over the State for the past year with no guarantees because I believe that the future for my 5-year-old daughter is not bright unless I do something to change it. I am also ethical and will hire the best and most intelligent staff to surround myself. I will not engage in ghost payrolling. I will not hire convicted felons to important positions and then put them on paid administrative leave for 14 months after they steal from the SOS.
What changes would you make to the Secretary of State’s office and why? The first thing I will do when elected Illinois Secretary of State would be to cut the budget. I will review the entire budget and determine where the unnecessary expenditures are and eliminate them. A very high percentage of the budget involves human resources. To reduce human resources, we must increase technology the use of technology. I will implement mandatory e-filing of all documents of incorporation. I will get the State of Illinois compliant with the Federal Real ID Act. White has failed to comply with federal law for 13 years. If I was not compliant with federal law for 13 years, I would expect to lose my job. It is ridiculous that you need a passport to go to a military base in Illinois because Illinois is not Real ID Act compliant. The rubber is going to meet the road when we are required to have a passport to fly from Chicago all the way to Milwaukee. Once the government refuses to give the SOS another extension, consumers are going to be outraged.
What is the most important issue facing the Secretary of State’s office? How would you handle it? The Secretary of State must do better at embracing technology to reduce human resource costs. In Delaware, you can go online and receive all of your paperwork to incorporate on the same day. You cannot do this in Illinois. With more than 375,000 corporations in Illinois, we need to be able to have mandatory e-filing of all documents online. This will reduce government jobs and increase efficiency. You should never be required to call or mail the Secretary of State for an answer. For criminal prosecutions, restricted driving permits should be immediately accessible for prosecutors to more quickly file charges. Jesse White fails to implement these technologies because it would reduce jobs. With today’s technology, a potential prosecution should not be delayed because we need to mail a request for information to the Secretary of State and wait to act until we receive the official documents from the Secretary of State in the mail.
Would you term limit yourself? If so, how many terms? I would absolutely term limit myself to 2 terms.