Grundy County State's Attorney Jason Helland, GOP candidate for Illinois Secretary of State, during a recent gathering.
Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland says he just can't stay in Grundy County when he knows Illinois needs him in the secretary of state's office.
"I love being the Grundy County state's attorney," Helland told Prairie State Wire during a recent interview. "But to be honest, I can't stand by and watch as Illinois deteriorates. While all these record-breaking politicians are enjoying their long careers in Springfield, Illinois is being run into the ground. Business after business chooses our neighboring states over Illinois, and our residents are voting with their feet. They feel they have no other option but to flee Illinois."
Helland, a Republican, is running for the Illinois secretary of state seat held by longtime Democrat incumbent Jesse White, 83, who was first elected to the office in 1998. Helland has said he knows his run against White will be an up-hill climb, and a major obstacle to his campaign.
Grundy County State's Attorney Jason Helland, GOP candidate for Illinois Secretary of State | Photo courtesy of Jason Helland
He also says he has much to offer as secretary of state.
"I bring a career of experience in dealing with DUIs as a prosecutor and also plan to bring the Illinois secretary of state’s office into the 21st century," he said.
"I want to modernize the way we bring services to the people of Illinois," he said. "There is no reason we should not be using email, text and even apps to both streamline services and reduce costs. Imagine if you could come into your local DMV with everything already filled out and verified through an application on your phone, scan it, get your license and be on your way."
He told Prarie State Wire that he doesn't want to see his daughter, Harper, grow up fleeing Illinois as have so many others looking for better opportunities.
"I'm not afraid of the challenge of taking back the office of secretary of state from an entrenched 20-year incumbent Democrat," Helland said. "I've faced this type of challenge once already."
Helland was re-elected last year to a second term as Grundy County state’s attorney, a seat he first won in 2012 by defeating the incumbent, Democrat John Bates. Before becoming state’s attorney, Helland was a prosecutor in the Kankakee County State’s Attorneys' Office.
"In 2012, I was the first Republican state's attorney elected in Grundy County in 28 years," Helland said. "And when Chicago special interest money poured into my Democrat opponent's coffers as they tried to take the seat back in 2016, we won by an even larger margin than the first time."
His decision to run for secretary of state is tied to his previous experience and his observations about the Democrat-controlled Illinois General Assembly and powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), Helland said.
"My job as a prosecutor is to deliver justice without fear or favoritism, to see to it the guilty are convicted, and the innocent are protected," he said. "And right now justice is not being served to the hard-working taxpayers of Illinois. In Mike Madigan’s Illinois, fear and favoritism rule the roost."
Helland added that he has no illusions about how tough the race will be.
"I’m ready for this challenge," he said. "I look forward to traveling Illinois, and I hope to earn the support of our residents as we fight to rebuild Illinois."