Alexi Giannoulias Wants to Modernize the Secretary of State Office (Chicago, IL) — Alexi Giannoulias views the Illinois Secretary of State position as an enormously essential office because of the breadth of its services. It’s the reason why he entered the race calling the position non-partisan and affecting the lives of most state residents in various ways.
Upon announcing his campaign for Secretary of State, he announced his vision to create more opportunities for Illinoisans. That includes protecting voter rights and increasing registration opportunities, modernizing the office to reduce wait times, and strengthening state ethics laws to curb corruption.
“I think we people are waiting too long in line at the DMV, and for government services, and paying for what I call a time tax. We want to go through modernization technologies to help save people time and effort,” said Giannoulias, currently the CEO & Founder of Annoula Ventures, which invests in primarily Illinois-based companies and start-ups. “As the state agency that more Illinoisans interact on a daily basis, the office acts as a retail operation providing customer service.”
Secretary of State Time Tax
Some of the ideas include having people schedule appointments to avoid waiting in long lines.
“We are looking at ideas like digital driver’s license and state IDs, and the creation of an app and vision tests on-line. So modernizing the office will be our priority,” he said. “Number two, transparency and ethics. People are sick and tired of the scandal, and corruption. Illinois politics for too long, we have allowed serious corruption with corrupt officials who have exploited their office for personal gain. So if I’m elected, I will support a package of ethics reforms that will protect our citizens and our public institutions from abuse and double dealing.”
At 30 years old, Giannoulias was elected Illinois State Treasurer, becoming the youngest State Treasurer in the nation. Inspired to run by his friend and political mentor, President Barack Obama, he ran as an independent Democrat and pursued a progressive, reform agenda focused on curbing ethical abuses, creating jobs and safely investing taxpayer dollars to improve the financial futures of all Illinoisans.
In 2010, Giannoulias became the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Illinois with a platform to restore the promise of economic opportunity for every American and break the stranglehold of special interests in Washington.
Alexi Giannoulias as a Public Servant
After leaving the Treasurer’s Office in 2011, Giannoulias was appointed to serve as Chairman of the Illinois Community College System, became Senior Director at BNY Mellon Wealth Management and taught at Northwestern University. He was also appointed to serve on the Chicago Public Library’s Board of Directors in 2018.
“Both my parents came to this country as immigrants. They came here, they had nothing,” he said. “But they believed in the promise of America that if you work hard, and make sacrifices, then your kids and grandkids can have a brighter future than you ever could. And sadly, that American Dream has taken a hit over the last couple of decades. I think my parents always instilled in me the importance of public service, of giving back being part of a larger community. I’ve always thought that politics is a great avenue for public service. And if we have more leaders step up and serve and help, then as cheesy and idealistic as it sounds, we can make this world a better place.”
He is also a big proponent of helping create small businesses.
“The Secretary of State is in charge of all business registration and voter registration in Illinois. What we want to do is through modernization turn our DMVs into essentially a Small Business Service Centers. If we have some entrepreneurs, especially in underserved or rural communities, who want to start a business, they don’t necessarily know the difference between an S corp and a C Corp and an LLC, or the tax ramifications of those designations, we want to help encourage them to start their businesses, expand their business and grow their business.”
Giannoulias graduated cum laude from Boston University with a degree in economics and earned a law degree from Tulane University’s School of Law. He is a lifelong Chicagoan and still calls the city home along with his wife, Josephine, and their two daughters.
Alexi Giannoulias Wants to Modernize the Secretary of State Office