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Illinois elects new house speaker, Rep. Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WREX) — Rep. Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch will be the next Illinois House Speaker after he secured 69 votes in the final caucus vote.

Rep. Welch replaces Speaker Mike Madigan who has served in the speaker role for decades. Madigan was the longest-serving leader of any state or federal legislative body.

Madigan lost support among his colleagues after he was implicated in the ComEd bribery scandal earlier this year.

Madigan released this statement about Rep. Welch’s election:

“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.”

House Speaker Michael J. Madigan

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs today issued the following statement regarding the election of Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch as the newly elected Speaker of the 102nd General Assembly.

“We witnessed history today when members of the Illinois House of Representatives elected the first African American to lead their chamber,” Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said. 

“I have worked successfully with the new Speaker to pass legislation to make it easier to save for college and fought alongside him to ensure the life insurance industry pays death benefits after a customer passes away,” Frerichs said. “Because of those past victories, I am excited to work with him to bring financial order to our state and to expand economic opportunity for every person in Illinois.” 

The Illinois AFL-CIO today issued the following statement in response to the Illinois House selecting Emanuel "Chris" Welch as the new Speaker.

"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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