On the Record: Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias discusses modernizing the office, Carvana settlement, transition team


ILLINOIS (WMBD) — After more than two decades, Illinois has a new Secretary of State.

Alexi Giannoulias (D-Illinois) was sworn in earlier this month, taking charge after Jesse White retired.

Sec. Giannoulias joined WMBD’s Matt Sheehan On the Record Tuesday which aired on WMBD This Morning. Below you will find the transcript of that interview.

Sheehan: After a hard fought campaign for Secretary of State, you came out on top. What have been your main focuses since taking office?

"My campaign has always been about modernization. We view this office as a customer service office. So how do we make it easier for people to offer government services? So modernization has been at the forefront for the first month, and it will continue to be at the forefront of everything we do. We want to eliminate the time tax that people take when they use Secretary of State services," Secretary Giannoulias said. "Also, ethics has always been important to me. We have to build back trust in government. My first day in office I signed an executive ethics order that was important to me. You’ll continue to see a focus on new technology, modernization, ethics, transparency, as the State’s Chief Librarian, we want to make sure we have the best library system in the United States of America."

Sheehan: You recently announced a settlement agreement with online car retailer Carvana. Can you break down what and who Carvana violated, and what this settlement means for Illinoisans?

"They were illegally issuing out-of-state registration permits. We were the first State in the country to realize what was happening. We were the first State in the country to go after them. The settlement was a step forward for the people of Illinois. As I’ve said constantly, no one is going to mess with Illinois consumers," Giannoulias said. "Regardless of how you buy your vehicle, we will always stand up and fight for our consumers. So, while the settlement is done, we’re keeping an eye on them to make sure they do the right thing going forward."

Sheehan: You’ve recently announced your transition team. One name a lot of our viewers in central Illinois are familiar with. That’s former State Rep. Dan Brady (R-Bloomington), who was also your opponent in the 2022 General Election. Talk about why you felt Brady was a good candidate for this role and why you chose him?

"I think politics has become too disjointed. I think the temperature needs to calm down a little bit. When I talk to people, they just want smart, dedicated people who are going to make their lives easier. I’ve always been bipartisan. I’ve always worked across the aisle. So when the election was over, and I put together my transition team, I thought ‘here’s a guy who not only is a friend of mine who happens to be a Republican. He served in the General Assembly, he’s been running for this same office for 2 years, he’s got some good ideas," Giannoulias said. "So I asked him if he would serve on my transition team. I didn’t expect the media attention that we’d get for just doing the right thing and putting party behind us. I wish, quite frankly this happened more across the country."

Sheehan: Something you and I talked about multiple times on the campaign trail was modernizing the office. Making services more accessible for Illinoisans. What are you doing right now to achieve this goal?

"We’re gonna look at digital driver’s licenses, digital IDs, which are happening in other States. Our skip-the-line program, where people can call ahead, schedule a time and get a text back so they can go in. Just like other customer service businesses. We’re also looking at driving simulators so we don’t have to take people out of the DMVs to take individuals out for their driving tests. We’re also looking at and will achieve electronic car titles, electronic notary signatures," Giannoulias said.

Sec. Giannoulias said for those who don’t want to go all digital, they can still get their pieces of plastic and go into the DMV when they want.

He’s also asking all Illinoisans to submit suggestions, complaints, etc. at revupillinois.com.

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January 31, 2023 at 06:28AM

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