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MEET TOM BENIGNO

A leader we can trust for Norridge Village President!

Tom Benigno is a leader with a distinguished history of combining a strong passion for service with a deep understanding of the people he serves.

For over twenty years, Tom has been the Illinois Deputy Secretary of State, serving with his mentor and friend, Secretary of State Jesse White. Working together, they’ve enhanced and streamlined day-to-day services for customers–especially seniors, veterans and people with disabilities–at drivers license facilities across the state of Illinois. They’ve expanded web-based services to reach customers in new and effective ways. They’ve received award-winning praise for combating drunk driving and saving lives while reducing the rate of
teen traffic deaths to record-lows. And they’ve broadened the Organ Tissue Donor program to new levels of participation–nearly 6 million registrants.

Also, as Chief of Staff to Secretary White, Tom oversees 3700 employees and a budget of nearly $400 million.

Tom holds Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees in Organizational Leadership from Dominican University. He’s been an active member of the Knights of Columbus at Our Lady Mother of the Church and as a Board member of the Italian American Political Action Committee.

Tom also serves as the Executive Director of the Illinois Literacy Foundation.
A resident of Norridge for over twenty years, Tom, and his wife Benna raised their kids, Daniela, Anthony and Lucy, here and is a proud grandpa to Milania, Tony and Gia. He knows, first-hand, the importance of keeping taxes low for middle-class families while maintaining a solid commitment to our schools, our kids, and keeping our streets safe and clean.

This is the kind of experience and passion for people we need working for us in Norridge.

And the kind of Village President we will have by electing Tom Benigno.  Let’s elect Tom Benigno our Norridge Village President.

Tom Benigno for Norridge Village President - A proven leader
Tom Benigno for Norridge Village President - A proven leader

 TOM BENIGNO’S RECORD

The kind of experience and passion we need in Norridge.

LEADERSHIP – EXPERIENCE – RESULTS

 

Under Secretary of State Jesse White and Tom Benigno’s leadership, our roads are safer, customer service has improved and integrity has been restored to an office once plagued by corruption.

Keeping Teens Safe

The Secretary of State’s office initiated landmark teen driver safety legislation giving Illinois one of the best graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs in the country. Teen driving deaths have dropped by 69 percent since the GDL program was launched. A recent national survey by WalletHub ranked Illinois among the top states in teen driver safety due in large part to White’s and Benigno’s GDL program.

 

Combating Drunk Driving

The Secretary of State’s office was awarded the prestigious Legislative Champion Award by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for his efforts to fight DUI and make the roads of Illinois the safest ever.  White and Benigno implemented an innovative breath alcohol ignition interlock Device (BAIID) program which has helped position Illinois as a national leader in the fight against drunk driving.

 

Making Roads Safer

The Secretary of State’s office has initiated laws cracking down on texting while driving, chronic DUI offenders and excessive speeders, which has helped cement Illinois’ position as a top traffic safety state in the nation. In fact, a June 2018 national survey by WalletHub ranked Illinois first in the nation when it comes to DUI, distracted driving and texting while driving laws.

 

Protecting from Fraud and Identity Theft

The Secretary of State’s office upgraded the issuance process and security features to the driver’s license/ID card (DL/ID) design to better protect citizens from fraud and identity theft. With implementation of these changes, Illinois achieved full REAL ID compliance and began issuing REAL ID DL/IDs statewide in spring 2019. The REAL ID Act is a federal mandate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

 

Helping Military Veterans

Jesse White and Tom Benigno initiated the law allowing U.S. military veterans and National Guard and Reserve personnel to get an updated DL/ID card with the word “VETERAN” displayed under the signature on the front of the card. The veteran’s designation helps ensure military veterans receive services and benefits, including healthcare, education and employment assistance.

 

Restoring Integrity

Secretary White and Deputy Secretary Tom Benigno restored integrity and eliminated all forms of institutionalized corruption and wrongdoing at the Secretary of State’s office.   To accomplish this goal, they have: established a code of conduct for employees; set strict fundraising policies that prohibit employee contributions to his political campaign; strengthened the Inspector General’s office, and initiated legislation to make the position of Inspector General permanent with broad powers to root out corruption.

 

Improving Customer Service

The Secretary of State’s office has improved customer services through streamlined operations, innovative use of technology and expanding online transactions. In 2018, Internet transactions with the office accounted for nearly $270 million, an increase of approximately 500 percent in 11 years.

 

Promoting Organ and Tissue Donation

The Secretary of State’s office initiated legislation creating the First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry, which makes a person’s decision to donate legally binding.  White and Benigno also championed legislation to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to register when they receive their DL/ID. Through these efforts, Illinois now has more than 6.8 million registered donors.

 TOM BENIGNO’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS

The kind of experience and passion we need in Norridge.

LEADERSHIP – EXPERIENCE – RESULTS

 

Working Together, Secretary of State Jesse White and Deputy Secretary Tom Benigno have brought profound change to state government as they’ve led the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State. 

Deputy Secretary Tom Benigno Initiates COVID-19 Safety Measures at all Illinois Drivers Facilities

Deputy Secretary Tom Benigno, in response to the unprecedented State shutdown due to COVID-19 precautions, has reconfigured state drivers facilities and initiated stringent safety measures as the facilities reopened to the public.  Thorough cleanings, extensive use of PPE, social distancing and other safety measures allowed the Secretary’s facilities to open to the public before any other State agencies.  While offering expiration extensions and featuring on-line services, the Secretary of State’s office is doing everything it can to expedite lines and the large volume of customers needing services after the two and half month shutdown.

 

Illinois Achieves REAL ID Compliance; Further Protecting Residents from Fraud and Identity Theft

White and Benigno upgraded the issuance process and security features to the driver’s license/ID card (DL/ID) design to better protect citizens from fraud and identity theft. With implementation of these changes, Illinois achieved full compliance with the federal REAL ID mandate and began issuing REAL IDs statewide in spring 2019. More than 900,000 REAL IDs have already been issued as of June, 2020.

 

Secretary’s Office Implements Innovative Driving Record Purchasing Program

Illinoisans no longer need to visit Driver Services facilities to purchase their driving records due to a new program launched by the Secretary’s office. Motorists may now purchase a copy of their driving record online by visiting www.cyberdriveillinois.com. This new program will allow customers to immediately print their driving record at the end of the transaction. The program is accessible 24/7 at www.cyberdriveillinois.com through the “Online Services” section under the “Driving Record Abstract” category.

 

Secretary of State’s Office GDL Program Helps Reduce Teen Driving Deaths by 69 Percent 

The Secretary’s office announced that teen driver deaths are down 69 percent since 2007. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), since White’s and Benigno’s efforts to overhaul the state’s graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws took effect in 2008, teen driving fatalities have dropped by 69 percent.

 

Scott’s Law Awareness Campaign

The Secretary’s Office launched a new awareness campaign to call on drivers to adhere to the Move Over Law, also known as Scott’s Law, designed to protect law enforcement and emergency responders who are stopped on the side of roadways. As part of this educational campaign, White and Benigno added a reminder about the Move Over Law to driver’s license renewal notices and vehicle registration renewals and also created an educational flyer available at all Driver Services facilities.

 

Secretary’s Office New Law Streamlines Veteran’s Designation on DL/ID Cards

The Secretary of State’s Office initiated a new law streamlining the process for U.S. military veterans interested in getting a driver’s license or ID card (DL/ID) with the word “VETERAN” displayed on the card. Effective Jan 1, 2020, the new law allows veterans who have received an Honorable or General under Honorable Conditions discharge to obtain the veteran’s designation on their DL/ID by bringing their DD214 or other acceptable discharge document directly to a Secretary of State Driver Services facility. Under this law, the veteran will no longer be required to visit the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) before coming to the Secretary of State. To ensure only eligible veterans are receiving this designation, the Secretary of State’s office will contact IDVA officials to confirm an applicant is a veteran. If IDVA officials cannot confirm the applicant is a veteran, the Secretary of State may cancel the applicant’s DL/ID. Since 2015, when White’s office first launched this service for our heroes, more than 100,000 veterans have obtained a DL/ID with the veteran’s designation.

 

Secretary’s Office Initiative Expands Organ/Tissue Donor Registry

Approximately 90,000 new registrants have joined the Organ/Tissue Donor Registry since the 2018 law allowed 16- and 17-year-olds to register. Under the previous law, an individual had to be at least 18 years old to join the registry.

 

Secretary’s Office Announces Organ/Tissue Donor Registry Hits 6.8 Million

The Secretary’s Office announced that the state’s organ/tissue donor registry reached 6.8 million registrants. White’s and Benigno’s mission is to sign up everyone who is eligible in order to give others a second chance at life and end the waiting for the approximately 4,700 people statewide.

 

Secretary’s Office Awarded More than $464,000 Project Next Generation Grants

The Office of the Illinois Secretary of State awarded $464,469 in FY20 Project Next Generation (PNG) grants to 29 public libraries statewide which will provide technology and mentors to help at-risk youth. Established by Secretary White in 1999, and guided by the Deputy Secretary Tom Benigno, PNG is an innovative program administered through Illinois public libraries. PNG mentors work with middle and high school students to use various technologies, achieve success through project based learning and gain life skills such as effective communication, goal-setting and conflict resolution.

 

Secretary of State’s Office Awarded Over $5.6 Million in Adult Literacy Grants

The Secretary’s Office awarded over $5.6 million to the Adult Literacy Grant Program to help learners develop and enhance their reading, math, writing and English-language skills. An estimated 2.1 million Illinois residents need adult literacy and/or English-language instruction. These funds help 113 local literacy projects support adult learners to achieve their utmost potential in the upcoming year. A total of 14,352 learners will be served by adult literacy programs around the state. A total of 6,086 volunteer tutors will provide training for learners putting them on the path to lifelong learning. Adult literacy projects help adults who read below the ninth-grade level or speak English at a beginning level to improve their reading, writing, math or use of English as a new language.

 

Secretary of State’s Office Launches Passenger License Plate Replacement Program

The Secretary’s Office launched a cost-efficient passenger license plate replacement program in January 2017 to replace the oldest license plates with newly designed plates at no additional cost to Illinois taxpayers. The purpose of the program is to ensure – now and in the future – that older license plates on Illinois roads are replaced. License plates’ reflectivity diminishes with age, which impacts law enforcement’s ability to quickly and accurately identify license plate numbers. The forward-thinking, long-term solution does not require a complete replating overhaul, which would cost around $60 million.

 

White and Benigno Initiate Comprehensive Drunk Driving Law

The Secretary of State’s office initiated a comprehensive DUI law, which originated from his Advisory Committee on Traffic Safety, designed to further combat drunk driving by increasing participation in the state’s nationally heralded Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) program. The proposal was strongly supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM).

 

Secretary’s Office Moves to Toughen Texting While Driving Law

White and Benigno initiated legislation strengthening the law on texting while driving. The new addition to the state’s statutes cracks down on texting while driving by classifying first-time offenses as moving  violations. With the increased use of technological devices, distracted driving has become a serious problem on the roads of our state and throughout the nation.

 

Illinois–Top Traffic Safety State in Nation

Spurred by the leadership of Secretary White and Deputy Secretary Benigno, the Secretary of State’s Office has initiated laws cracking down on texting while driving, chorionic DUI offenders and excessive speeders, which has helped cement Illinois’ position as the top traffic safety state in the nation.  In fact, in a June 2018 survey by WalletHub ranked Illinois first in the nation when it comes to DUI, distracted driving and texting while driving laws.

 

New Law Helps Veterans Gain Employment in the Trucking Industry

Secretary White and Deputy Secretary Benigno are making it easier for military veterans to get jobs in the trucking industry. Legislation, initiated by the Secretary of State’s office and signed into law by the governor, allows for an exemption from the Commercial Driver License (CDL) knowledge written test requirement for qualified current or former military personnel who participated in military heavy-vehicle driving programs.

 

Secretary’s Office Launches Statewide Program to Increase Library Services for Individuals with Autism

The Secretary of State’s Office and The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) launched  “Targeting Autism” an innovative program designed to create collective solutions to address the support needs of Illinois residents impacted by autism.  This program encourages libraries to work together with TAP, which is the largest statewide autism resource and service network in the nation.

 

Kelsey’s Law

Secretary White and Deputy Secretary Benigno initiated legislation to prohibit the issuance of a driver’s license to a driver under age 18 who has an unresolved traffic citation. Effective since 2014, Kelsey’s Law also allows the Secretary’s office to cancel a GDL if it is determined that at the time of issuance the minor had an unresolved traffic citation. Under previous law, a GDL applicant was not required to report any pending traffic citations. The law is named in honor of 15-year-old Kelsey Little, who in 2011 was seriously injured in an automobile crash by a young driver operating on a learner’s permit. The driver was issued a traffic citation for the incident, of which the Secretary of State’s office was not notified due to the lack of a reporting requirement. Three days later the teen driver applied for and was issued a driver’s license.

 

Upgrades to BAIID Program to Require In-Car Camera Installation

In 2013, Secretary White and Deputy Secretary Benigno initiated a key upgrade to Illinois’ innovative BAIID program, which now requires an in-car camera to accompany every BAIID installation. The law took effect July 1, 2013, and provides additional accountability to a program that has received national acclaim as a model in the fight against drunk driving.

 

School Bus Driver Safety Legislation Becomes Law

The Secretary’s Office initiated legislation effective in 2012 that suspends for three years the school bus permit of a driver who refuses to submit to a test or fails to obtain a zero tolerance for the presence of alcohol, drugs or intoxicating compounds.  The law allows a school bus company that has reasonable suspicion that one of its school bus drivers is under the influence of alcohol or drugs to require the driver to submit to alcohol/drug testing before driving a school bus. The Secretary of State’s office will suspend the school bus permit for three years for any driver who refuses to submit to the test or fails to obtain a zero tolerance for alcohol or drugs.

 

Crack Down on Chronic Abusers of Disability Plates and Placards

Secretary White and Deputy Secretary Benigno initiated legislation targeting those who habitually abuse disability parking placards and license plates.  The law increased fines to $750 for second offenses and $1,000 for third offenses.  The law also clarified that the authorized holder of the parking placard must be present when entering or exiting a vehicle; placards are not transferable.

TOM’S PLATFORM

Economic Growth:

Video gambling, cigarette outlets and liquor stores? What happened to retail shops and stores that create jobs, attract shoppers from surrounding communities and actually enhance our quality of life in Norridge?

Tom believes that these are valid questions revealing one of Norridge’s biggest problems–and its greatest opportunity.

Tom believes we need to create an economic environment in Norridge that works closely with existing businesses and neighbors to attract new businesses that will make Norridge, once again, a leading community in which to live, work and raise our families.

Taxes:

While other nearby communities have enhanced their tax bases and have been able to hold down property taxes for homeowners, Norridge continues to rely more and more on hard working families to make ends meet – raising the village’s share of property taxes each year for the last five.

Tom Benigno will hold the line on property taxes and prioritize economic growth as an engine to both enhance village services and relieve homeowners’ share of the overall tax burden.

Tom believes that homeowners should not be asked again and again to foot the bill for inefficient government or by failing to bring new businesses to Norridge.

His experience in state government has given him the know-how to advocate for us in Springfield and work with lawmakers to provide real property tax relief – on day one of becoming Village President.

Public Safety:

Tom’s number one priority is public safety. Maintaining and enhancing Police and Fire protection must be our commitment if we are to expect the level of services our families deserve.

Tom will create a Community Services Forum, through both on-line and public meetings, for neighbors to help identify safety problems and concerns and thus more quickly produce solutions to service gaps or safety hotspots.

Tom Benigno for Village President - Tom Benigno's Platform for Norridge