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Election 2018 candidate: Steve Dutner, Illinois Secretary of State

Secretary of State Libertarian candidate Steve Dutner talks with the Northwest Herald editorial board on Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2018 in Crystal Lake.
Secretary of State Libertarian candidate Steve Dutner talks with the Northwest Herald editorial board on Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2018 in Crystal Lake.

Shaw Media sent questionnaires to statewide and Congressional candidates throughout the area ahead of the fall election.

Those questionnaires from each candidate who responded, as well as video of candidate interviews with our Editorial Board, are featured on our Election Central website to help readers make informed decisions when they cast their votes.

Name:  Steve Dutner

Age: 41

Town of residence: Elgin

Office sought: Secretary of State

Party: Libertarian



1. Why are you the best candidate in this race?

I became involved in politics through the Libertarian Party because I believe the citizens of Illinois deserve a better government: a government that works for them. I have been helping in my local community for nearly twenty years by fighting tax increases, attending board meetings and working to protect individual rights. As a key member of numerous campaign teams, I have traveled across Illinois and am a member of three Libertarian chapters: The Fox Valley Libertarian Party, the DuPage Libertarians, and the Libertarian Party of DeKalb County. From 2014-2017, I was the Activism Director for the Libertarian Party of Illinois. I received a Volunteer Outreach award from the DuPage Libertarians and went on to receive the Activist of the Year award from the Libertarian Party of Illinois in 2016. I am currently the Vice Chair and SOC representative for the DuPage Libertarians, while also serving as a Township Committeeman for Hanover Township.  I offer a unique platform from my opponents because I am presenting more modern solutions to bring us into the 21st century

2. Illinois has made several changes to driver's licensing to comply with the federal REAL ID law. How can the licensing process for Illinois drivers be improved?

I was vehemently opposed to the REAL ID law when it was proposed. It violates the privacy of the individual, disregards civil liberties, and is unconstitutional. Since the REAL ID law was forced on the citizens of Illinois by the federal government, why is the state forced by the feds to contribute $13.5 million? If the federal government made this mandatory, should it not be the feds who pay this bill, rather than through the Secretary of State’s office budget? 

The Secretary of State’s office could improve the process for making these IDs more convenient, and less costly, to a person to obtain. I believe that we can save on costs by having the new licenses issued at the same time as proof of identity is shown, instead of receiving a temporary paper one. The technology is and machinery is readily available to make this happen. As a Libertarian, I am almost always opposed to federal involvement in state politics and monetary issues. However, in this case, since this ID was forced on the Secretary of State’s office, I would like to see them provide the technology and funds to meet compliance with their own unconstitutional legislation.

3. Do you believe the Secretary of State police are necessary?

My goal as Secretary of State is to reduce the budget of this office and eliminate redundancies where they currently exist.  Since there are another 10 state police agencies, I will conduct a feasibility study on whether or not it is possible to eliminate the Secretary of State police entirely, as I believe law enforcement should not fall under the purview of this office.  

4. Some states, such as Pennsylvania, have abandoned the practice of selling annual license plate renewal stickers. Should Illinois end this practice as well? Why or why not? 

With a large part of my platform being to privatize or contract out Driver Services, this would also include phasing out renewal stickers. As other organizations take on the responsibility of handing the license plates and registrations, they will also work on a better system to enable nothing more than the person’s license plate to be scanned to show that it has been renewed.

5. Is there anything that should be done to increase the public's access to records maintained by the Secretary of State? What?

The state library portion of the Cyberdrive website is effective in providing direct access to information on that department’s committees and their activities. I believe this type of transparency can be expanded into other areas of the office. For example, the committees that may exist with driver services or with information technology area within the office could provide more documentation on the Cyberdrive website to mimic the level of accessibility and transparency already provided by the state library.  

In terms of the collections held by the state library and state archives, I find that the searchable online public access catalog (OPAC) provides sufficient information to the public regarding the holdings of these respective agencies. I commend the professional staff at these respective agencies for maintaining this OPAC and support the continued use and development of this.

6. Should marijuana be legalized for recreational use in Illinois? If so, how and why? If not, why not?

Absolutely. I was an activist for cannabis legalization before I joined the Libertarian Party and became involved in politics. Although, as a Libertarian, I am opposed to most taxation, I look at Illinois as having an opportunity to raise revenue through legalizing this very beneficial and safe plant. The tax is more of an “user fee” for the consumer so it is not forced on any taxpayer who does not purchase the product.

Being involved in politics for nearly two decades, I realize that Illinois will probably not use the revenue for what it was intended for. However, this is more of a moral issue for me. People are going to prison, being taken from their families, and miss out on job opportunities and a decent income when they are released from prison. Although I would never propose prohibiting alcohol, it does need to be noted that alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs out there and hardly anyone is out there demanding it’s ban anymore.

Medical marijuana is finally turning around to become successful in Illinois. People are receiving treatment for many ailments. We need to expand this program even more and let more people choose their method of medication for alleviating their symptoms. We need to get on board with the majority of Americans who believe that cannabis should be legal and stop punishing people for victimless crimes.

7. What changes or reforms, if any, do you support in Illinois DUI laws?

I lost a family member to a drunk driver so I take driving under the influence very seriously. Although, I am pleased that the incidents of drunk driving have decreased in Illinois, I will continue to support ways to ensure the safety of all drivers.  We have had the implementation of the BAIID, but I believe that we need to make sure that we are using graduated licensing fairly, while continuing to protect all drivers on the road.

8. How can the customer experience at the Secretary of State's offices be improved?

Privatization of Drivers Services will increase efficiency by providing friendlier customer service because of shorter wait times. By also implementing a kiosk system, this would modernize the office by allowing people the option of visiting a more conveniently located kiosk rather than having to physically visit a Drivers Service facility.

9. By law, the Secretary of State administers the state library. How much support can and should the state library provide to local libraries in our communities?  

Supporting literacy and libraries in Illinois is inherent to the state library’s mission and vision. I also recognize the importance of collaboration among Illinois libraries, and I will continue to support the Illinois Library and Information Network (ILLNET). In order to be an engaged and present state librarian, I plan on touring public, academic and special libraries throughout the state. I will meet regularly with staff at the state library and the state archives so that I understand their work and what their needs might be. I would also like to implement a practicum program at the state library in order to give those students studying to be professional librarians an opportunity to have real-world experience working in a library. 

The headquarters of the American Library Association is in our state. I look forward to building a relationship with this important organization as well as with the Illinois Library Association so that that I can have a deeper understanding of the issues facing libraries today so that the state library can provide pertinent support to libraries.      

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