Steve Dutner: Candidate for Illinois Secretary of State

Video: Steve Dutner tells voters about his platform. Learn more about Candidate Free Time.

About this candidate

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Name: Steve Dutner
DOB: 04/21/1977
Residence: Elgin
Family: Two grown step-sons
Occupation: Sales
Political Experience: I have been a political activist for nearly 20 years, as a member of the Libertarian Party of Illinois and the national Libertarian Party. Currently, I am a Hanover Township Committeeman, Vice Chairman of the DuPage Libertarians, State Organizing Committee for the Dekalb Libertarians, 19 year member of the Fox Valley Libertarians and was previously the Activism Director for the state party. I participate in local politics and have worked to help improve the community I live in.

About this office

The secretary of state is responsible for maintaining the official records of the acts of the General Assembly and official records of the executive branch as provided by law, and must make these official records available for inspection by the public. The secretary of state is also responsible for driver licensing and vehicle registration.

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Candidate Q&A

What is your vision for this office?

My main goal is to privatize Illinois Driver Services within four years of being elected. I plan to lease space that is empty in some of the buildings used by the Secretary of State. The first step will be to outsource all services currently offered via Driver Services to private businesses in the same way as notaries perform acts in legal affairs or how provides postage. The second step would be to allow auto insurance companies to provide similar services as they have an incentive to make sure that only the best drivers are on the road at a given time. Currently 18 states have privatized at least some aspects of their DMV/Driver Services. States with private DMVs/Driver Services report shorter wait times across the board because there is a profit incentive in place to give people good customer service – an element missing from any government monopoly. All but one of these states reported a lower cost per transaction as the result of market competition. Looking over the results of these states will help implement the correct course of action for Illinois. I would like to start shutting down government operated Driver Services gradually, while allowing the Illinois Department of Transportation to absorb some of its functions (minimum licensing requirements can be managed within IDOT, as well as record keeping, and some other clerical tasks) will give entrepreneurs time to set up shop and provide Illinois residents with options. Once the transition is complete, the cost of government to license drivers will be greatly reduced and certain revenue streams can be eliminated. A major part of this plan to privatize includes setting up kiosks in locations like grocery stores, libraries, and colleges. Basic transactions will be automated and competing companies will cover the costs with advertising.

In addition to saving costs by privatizing Driver Services, wasteful spending on grants will be cut as they should not be going through the Secretary of State’s office. To help with renewal and fee costs, renewal cards and advertising space will be on the Cyberdrive web page. Secretary of State Police functions will be reduced where there is redundancy with the other ten state police organizations. Additionally, Steve will be supporting legislation to remove the front license plate requirement, resulting in an estimated savings of approximately $800,000. These, and other methods of cost reduction, will allow Steve to cut down on fees for drivers elsewhere.

The cost of living continues to climb in Illinois. Like many Illinoisans, commercial drivers are struggling to pay their bills. The Secretary of State’s office is charging too much to get a Commercial Driver’s License and the process is very complicated. Even after recent legislation, LLC costs are still way too high to start and maintain a business. Forms are overly complicated, and the fees for CDL classes and licenses are outrageous. Fees will not go up while I’m in office; rather, you will see a dramatic reduction or elimination of many of them. I will demand this through the Department of Legislative Affairs.

People around the state are randomly receiving letters from the Secretary of State demanding proof of insurance. This is unconstitutional. Innocent until proven guilty: Bring a warrant. Privacy is important to me. Identity theft has become rampant, and the Secretary of State’s office lacks the resources to investigate hacking and other security issues. There is a push to require a “textalizer,” which is a device that plugs in to monitor if you have been texting while driving. It can’t tell who was doing the texting in your vehicle. I feel these practices may infringe on the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as Section I Article 6 of the Illinois State Constitution. Whether in the database or on forms, whenever possible, I will protect a citizen’s private information. Finally, licenses should not be suspended because of one’s personal debt. Without the ability to drive, it makes it more difficult for a person to repay this debt and these suspensions have little to do with traffic safety.

What is the most pressing issue facing constituents, and how can you help address it?

I believe the most pressing issue facing my constituents is how inconvenient, costly, and time-consuming getting things done in the Secretary of State’s office is, especially with Driver Services. My constituents are telling me that they want things to be more efficient in the office so that they can get things done in a reasonable amount of time without breaking the bank. They believe that the fees are too high and that customer service can be improved. My whole objective with privatizing is to make it so they have good customer service and reduced fees when they need to use the Secretary of State’s office. Constituents have also expressed concern over identity theft and securing their privacy within the office since identity theft is running rampant right now. We need to make sure all documents and transactions are protected and understood by those submitting and processing them. The key to being an effective candidate is to always listen to the needs of the people who may decide to vote for you. I feel that I have done that and will continue to do so.

Candidate Statement

Hello. My name is Steve Dutner and I am your Libertarian candidate for Illinois Secretary of State.

The Secretary of State’s office is no different from any other government agency in Illinois when it comes to overspending and inefficiency. So how do we solve these issues? One way we can do this is by opening up Driver Services to the free market, presenting the consumer with more options.

Eighteen states in the US have either privatized or contracted out Driver Services. Since doing this, almost all of the states have experienced shorter wait times across the board and a lower cost per transaction for the consumer.

In addition to saving costs by privatizing Driver Services, cutting wasteful spending on grants, and eliminating the front license plate requirement, I will look to cut down redundancies between the Secretary of State police and the other ten state police agencies. Although House Bill 394 allows advertising on the Secretary of State’s publications, it still limits who can advertise. Recently, the Libertarian Party Comptroller Candidate Claire Ball won a case allowing the medical marijuana industry to donate to campaigns. With medical marijuana being legal in Illinois, and full legalization of right around the corner, there is no reason why a legitimate business like this should not be able to advertise. Government should abstain from the crony capitalism of picking and choosing with whom they do business.

The Secretary of State's Office is responsible for investigating identity theft. Traveling around Illinois, citizens have told me their concerns over protecting their privacy, especially after seeing Equifax get hacked. I would like to make use of “air gap” technology and make the entire Secretary of State’s office PCI compliant.

We have had nearly twenty years with the current Secretary of State in office, and the people of Illinois are looking for fresh new ideas. I am offering a platform that considers all of your freedoms, all the time, and my only special interest is you. Believe in Steve on November 6th and vote to bring the Secretary of State’s office into the 21st century.

About Candidate Free Time

WTTW’s 2018 Voters’ Guide to the General Election is an online resource designed to inform voters about the candidates running for office in the Nov. 6 election.

Candidates were given two minutes to tell voters where they stand on the issues, why they feel they are best qualified and what they intend to do if elected or re-elected. The messages were recorded at the WTTW studios at no cost to the candidates.

The Voters’ Guide is an online version of Candidate Free Time, pioneered by WTTW in the 1992 race for U.S. Senate. This year’s Candidate Free Time is produced with and underwritten in part by the League of Women Voters of Cook County.

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