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Rep. Brady pushes efficiency and customer service in Illinois Secretary of State bid

Dan Brady speaking at podium
Eric Stock
State Rep. Dan Brady announced a bid for Illinois Secretary of State in an address at the McLean County Museum of History on Wednesday.

A longtime state lawmaker from Bloomington has his sights set on statewide office. Republican state Rep. Dan Brady formally declared Wednesday he's running for Illinois Secretary of State next year.

Brady said Secretary of State offices for drivers and for businesses and nonprofits are too often plagued by long lines, inefficiency and outdated technology.

“Cutting through government red tape in the name of making things easier and more efficient for businesses and individuals is what the Secretary of State’s office needs now more than ever,” Brady said during a news conference at the Union League Club of Chicago. He also has campaign stops planned in Bloomington and Mount Vernon.

Brady said he will push for legislation that would enable first-time driver’s license applicants to take their road test at a school or private drivers' education facility. He said that would free up more driver’s services staff to help customers. He said he would also expand the number of Secretary of State facilities that take appointments and would cross-train staff to handle all duties at driver’s license offices.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Jesse White announced 13 driver's services offices in central Illinois, including Bloomington, would require appointments for many driver's services, including road tests, standard driver's licenses and Real ID cards. License plate sticker renewal and vehicle title applications would not require an appointment.

 Dan Brady
Richard Lehner
Dan Brady

Brady has served 10 terms in the Illinois legislature. Jesse White is not seeking re-election after 24 years as Secretary of State. Brady is the first Republican to announce plans to seek the office. Four Democrats have lined up to replace White, including former Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia and Chicago City Council members Pat Dowell and David Moore.

Brady said he expects to be at a financial disadvantage in a general election race, adding he is used to being an “underdog” and underfunded. He pointed to recent elections in New Jersey and Virginia where Republicans won election to statewide office despite starting at a fundraising disadvantage.

“It has been proven that money isn’t everything when it comes to wining political races,” Brady replied. “If they want business and usual, if they want dominancy from this particular area, then that’s their choice. But I am going to be offering something new.”

The two previous Republicans to serve as Secretary of State, Jim Edgar and George Ryan, later went on to become governor. Ryan would also serve prison time for his role in a licenses-for-bribes scandal when he was Secretary of State.

Standing by Brady’s side for the announcement, Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin called the Secretary of State’s office a perfect fit for Brady because the office is so constituent driven.

“He is dedicated to his constituents like no other public servant I have ever served with in my career,” Durkin said.

The Illinois Secretary of State issues licenses for drivers and motor vehicles. The office also keeps the state’s official records and serves as the state librarian and Illinois state capitol custodian.

Prior to his tenure in the Illinois legislature, Brady served two terms as McLean County coroner.

The Illinois primary election is scheduled for June 28, 2022. The general election will be Nov. 8, 2022.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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