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Emanuel Chris Welch replaces Michael Madigan as Illinois’ Speaker of the House

Madigan was the longest serving leader of any legislative body in American history.
Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 6:28 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -After 36 years the Illinois House is under new leadership. Lawmakers elect Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch to replace long time speaker Michael Madigan.

“I believed it was time for new leadership, but from the start I firmly believed the next speaker was going to be a black person,” said Illinois Rep. Maurice West.

Emanuel is an ally of Madigan and Illinois’ first black speaker of the house.

Michael Madigan released the following statement:

“As I prepare to pass the Speaker’s gavel to a new generation of Democratic leadership, I want to thank the people of my district and the members of the House Democratic Caucus for the faith and trust they have placed in me over the years. I want to thank my staff for their hard work on behalf of every member of this caucus. It has been the honor of a lifetime to help bring people of different experiences and backgrounds together to serve our state.

“It is time for new leadership in the House. I wish all the best for Speaker-elect Welch as he begins a historic speakership. It is my sincere hope today that the caucus I leave to him and to all who will serve alongside him is stronger than when I began. And as I look at the large and diverse Democratic majority we have built—full of young leaders ready to continue moving our state forward, strong women and people of color, and members representing all parts of our state—I am confident Illinois remains in good hands.”

Illinois Republican Chairperson Tim Schneiders released the following statement:

“House Democrats have chosen to go from Mike Madigan, the most corrupt politician in America, to Rep. Chris Welch, a top Madigan lieutenant who has been credibly accused by multiple women in court documents of harassment, assault, and retaliation.

It’s now clear that House Democrats are doubling down on allowing Madigan’s corrupt machine to continue running state government. In Madigan’s stead, they have promoted a serial harasser and assaulter of women. But in spite of that, Welch passed the most important test this fall - he’s been a loyal Madigan ally for years but performed most recently as Madigan’s human shield in legislative hearings investigating the sweeping corruption scandal that ultimately brought Madigan down.

This decision is a travesty for the people of Illinois, and we will make sure every voter understands that House Democrats just can’t quit Madigan.”

Illinois Rep. Joe Sosnowski released the following statement:

“This is an historic day for Illinois, as the long reign of Michael Madigan has come to an end after serving 50 years in the General Assembly; including 36 of the last 38 as Speaker of the House. His departure will hopefully lead to more power bring restored to the people of Illinois through their elected representatives in the people’s House. We need to become a less partisan, more collaborative body that works together to meet the challenge of leading Illinois through these turbulent times.”

Tim Drea, President, Illinois AFL-CIO and Pat Devaney, Secretary-Treasurer, Illinois AFL-CIO released the following statement:

“The Illinois AFL-CIO, representing nearly 1 million working families across the state, today offers a hearty congratulations to new Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. Speaker Welch has a proven track record of fighting for working families, and we are eager to work with him, Senate President Harmon and Gov. Pritzker to address the significant challenges facing the state of Illinois as we begin 2021.”

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