ENDORSEMENT: Jesse White for Illinois secretary of state
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Remind us again when Jesse White was not Illinois secretary of state.
It’s been 20 years since White first was elected to head an office that at the time was known primarily for scandal and mismanagement. Since then, White has been re-elected four times, and he has made the office more efficient and customer-friendly. White is endorsed for a sixth term.
White’s emphasis on traffic safety undoubtedly has made our state’s roads safer. He pushed for a graduated driver’s license for teenagers that was a major factor in cutting teen traffic fatalities by half. He oversaw implementation of the BAIID (breath alcohol interlock ignition device) program, to keep those with DUI convictions from driving while drunk. He pushed for the state’s ban on texting while driving, and for making a first offense under that law a moving violation that goes on a driver’s permanent record.
Under White, Illinois’ organ and tissue donor program has become one of the largest in the country. This year, thousands of 16- and 17-year-olds registered as donors after a new law lowered the donor age requirement.
All of these are admirable accomplishments, and White consistently has pulled votes from across party lines. But after 20 years as secretary of state, it’s reasonable for voters to wonder how long White, now 84, will have the energy and enthusiasm for the job.
White, a Democrat, is endorsed over Republican candidate and Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland, who has bought into conspiracy theories about rampant voter fraud, and Libertarian Party candidate Steve Dutner.
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Ahead of the historic 2018 elections, the Sun-Times is teaming up weekly with the Better Government Association, in print and online, to fact-check the truthfulness of the candidates. You can find all of the PolitiFact Illinois stories we’ve reported together here.