By ANDREW HENSEL for the Illinois Radio Network
CHICAGO, Ill. (IRN) — The Illinois Secretary of State position is open for the first time in over 20 years. Two Republican candidates are in the running for the GOP nomination. They discussed ideas they have for the office if elected in November.
Candidates Dan Brady, an Illinois state representative from Bloomington, and former federal prosecutor John Milhiser are vying for the open seat.
The two met last week on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight program to give ideas on ways to fix issues surrounding the job ahead of the June 28 primary.
One of the topics the candidates discussed was ways to modernize the Secretary of State’s office.
Milhiser said updated technology and improvements to their website would make it easier for the people of Illinois to get what they need done.
“I think it’s modernizing the office, technology-wise,” Milhiser said. “So when you go online you can get the services you need, a streamlined process so you can find out what you need online.”
Brady spoke about addressing the staffing shortage the office is seeing in a number of departments.
“The Secretary of State’s office is a constitutional office that touches more lives of Illinois residents on a daily basis than any other,” Brady said. “When you talk about the motor vehicle divisions, they haven’t been fully staffed in years and you have to start with that.”
Along with the staffing improvements, Brady suggested an updated form of training.
“We also have to start with cross-training those employees so the employees know other operations of that office,” Brady said. “So when you come in, you don’t get told ‘I don’t know’ or ‘come back tomorrow.'”
The position is up for grabs for the first time in 23 years after longtime Secretary of State Jesse White chose not to seek reelection. Milhiser, who said he is someone the residents of Illinois can trust.
“The people of Illinois deserve good government and leaders they can trust,” Milhiser said. “One of the few public officials people actually trusted was Jesse White and he’s leaving, so it’s so important that the next Secretary of State be a public servant and somebody people can trust.”
There are four Democrats looking for the party’s nomination in the June 28 primary. They are Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia, Alexi Giannoulias, Chicago Alderman David Moore, and Sidney Moore.
After the June 28 primary, the Illinois Secretary of State election will be on Nov. 8.