Endorsement: Daily Herald backs Jason Helland over Jesse White for secretary of state
Jesse White is a bankable Democratic office holder. He's been elected with more than 60 percent of the vote for all but the first of his five terms as secretary of state.
And wait times at his driver's license facilities are more bearable than they used to be.
White has held the office for more than 19 years, and before that he served eight years as Cook County's recorder of deeds and 16 years as a state representative. He's been in elected office for 43 straight years. He has had a great run.
Eight years ago during a meeting with the editorial board, White volunteered that it would be his final run for office. We jokingly told him we'd hold him to it. Four years later, when he met with us, he'd repeat his statement. And we told him we definitely would hold him to it.
Today, we do so.
This fall, White declined to meet with us, filling out only a questionnaire and a rebuttal to charges from his Republican challenger. That might have something to do with White's poor performance answering questions from the Springfield Journal-Register's editorial board.
Competing with White in the race are Republican Jason Helland, who is the Grundy County state's attorney, and Libertarian Steve Dutner of Elgin.
Helland cites bloat in White's office, slow progress on the Real ID program as well as a need for technology to speed processes and reduce costs for the courts and businesses.
Helland has 16 employees in his office, while White has about 3,000, but Helland comes at this from a consumer's point of view, decrying some of the antiquated ways the secretary of state's office deals with paperwork and transactions.
White boasts that his is the largest secretary of state's office in the nation.
That's simply out of step with voters beset by taxes. What we need now is a leaner, more efficient operation that saves consumers time and money.
White has been a good caretaker for the office, but it's time to modernize. We endorse Helland.