Jason Helland: Candidate Profile:
Name: Jason Helland
Office sought: Illinois Secretary of State
Family: Wife Sara, Daughter Harper (5)
Occupation: Elected State's Attorney in Grundy County
Education: Seneca High School, Joliet Junior College (Associates) University of St. Francis (Bachelors) John Marshall (Law Degree)
Civic involvement: Youth Soccer Coach, Habitat for Humanity, Breaking Away President Grundy County (domestic violence support organization)
Elected offices held: Grundy County State's Attorney (2012 -- current)
Question and Answer:
How would you streamline your office's duties to save the state money?
The SOS must embrace technology in order to reduce jobs.
(a) 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 jobs and increase efficiency.
(b) You should never be required to call or mail the SOS for an answer. For criminal prosecutions, restricted driving permits should be immediately accessible in order for prosecutors to more quickly file charges. 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 SOS and wait to act until we receive the official documents from the SOS in the mail.
Describe technological efficiencies developed over the past four years. What more can be done?
(a) The IL Attorney General's Office prides itself in protecting consumers. However, the SOS has had an audit finding that they failed to follow industry standards in processing credit card information; as a result, nearly 4 million consumers had their information breached. Unlike private corporations, the SOS failed to warn their consumers that their credit card information was breached and the consumer's information could have easily been sold on the dark web.
(b) I will not allow a situation like this to happen again by be the actual day-to-day leader of the SOS office and not just an elected figurehead who has very little to do with the office like we have now.
What functions should the Secretary of State's Office perform that it isn't right now?
I will get the SOS office compliant with the Federal Real ID Act right away. Jesse 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. Mr. White should expect to lose his job. It is ridiculous that you need a passport to go to a military base in Illinois because IL 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.
As a challenger, what in your background makes you qualified for this specialized office?
(a) Not only do I hold a law degree and run a fiscally sound and productive public office currently, I am also of sound mind and memory and want to do the job. White is the longest serving SOS in the history of the state and has no intention on completing this term if elected. A vote for White is a vote for Madigan's appointment.
(b) In addition, I am the only candidate who 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.
(c) I am also ethical and will hire the best and most intelligent staff to surround myself with. I will not engage in ghost payrolling. I will not hire felons to important positions and then put them on paid administrative leave for 14 months after they steal from the SOS.
What should Illinois be doing to make the roads safer?
Lobby against the legalization of marijuana in the name of traffic safety. I personally was a victim of a drunk and drugged driver and want to make sure that our roads are as safe as possible. Law enforcement is not adequately trained to handle DUI drug cases.
Illinois rolled out new license plates in the last year. How well did that go, and could things have been done differently?
This did not go well. Despite the fact that Illinois had not rolled out new plates since 2001, the SOS did a terrible job with the new plates. In an attempt to save money, the SOS redesigned the plates in house when they should have had an outside consultant do them. I would have held an art contest and put it out to the public to see who could design the best license plate and have the public vote on which one to choose. This would have been at no cost to the taxpayer.
Should fees be raised to pay for infrastructure upgrades? If so, which ones and by how much?
NO. Illinois should be cutting waste, fraud and abuse from the budget of every department; not raising fees.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
I would lead by example and address the sexual harassment epidemic of Springfield head on. With thousands of employees, there is sexual harassment in the workplace and too many employees do not report it because they fear the repercussions of reporting it. Sexual harassment needs to be reduced, and I lead by example. The incumbent has failed to lead. It is obvious with the resignation of Mike Madigan's chief of staff Tim Mapes and the Lou Lang situation that his must be a priority and thousands of employees cannot work in a hostile work environment.
In addition, here a few questions meant to provide more personal insight into you as a person:
What's the hardest decision you ever had to make?
The hardest decision I ever made was the decision to go to law school. This was a very difficult decision because no one in my family had ever been to law school. Making a career decision that is going to affect your entire life is always a difficult one. Ultimately, I made the right decision and law school was a perfect fit.
Who is your hero?
Each amendment in the Bill of Rights is important, but which one of those 10 is most precious to you?
I believe that the First Amendment is the most precious too me. The freedom of speech is very important in order to have a robust marketplace of ideas. In every important decision I make, I listen to all points of view before I make the decision.
The First Amendment gives us the opportunity to run for political office and at times agree to disagree on key issues that affect the common good. In some other countries, you cannot even question the government actors without fear of retaliation.
I am also a strong believer in the Second Amendment and am a proud member of the NRA.
What lesson of youth has been most important to you as an adult?
We live in a very materialistic society. If you are doing something because you are trying to reap a great financial gain, you are doing it for the wrong reasons. You need to get involved in groups that help the disadvantaged. It feels great to give back.
Think back to a time you failed at something. What did you learn from it?
I have learned that failure is your own subjective mindset. I have learned that you only fail if you believe you failed. You cannot measure failure by wins and losses. I have learned that you can succeed if you have a positive mindset.