Illinois State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, joins lawmakers at their desks as they are sworn in for the 102nd General Assembly at the Bank of Springfield Center on Wednesday. | Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP
State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, 49, was first sworn in to the House in 2013 and will start his fifth term later Wednesday. He would be the 70th Speaker of the Illinois House and the first Black person to hold the position.
SPRINGFIELD — Signaling the end of one era and the beginning of another, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch was elected the new speaker of the Illinois House on Wednesday — succeeding Mike Madigan, the longest serving statehouse speaker in U.S. history.
Welch is the first African American to win the powerful leadership position.
The Hillside Democrat was elected, 70 to 44, over House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs.
Madigan, 78, in a symbolic passing of the torch of leadership cast his vote for Welch.
Less than two hours earlier, Welch secured 69 votes in a second meeting of the House Democratic Caucus Wednesday morning, sources in the room told the Chicago Sun-Times.
That’s only four short of the entire 73-member Democratic Caucus.
The later vote of the entire House came just minutes after the swearing-in of newly elected members of the General Assembly.
State Rep. Maurice West nominated Welch and asked the body to give a standing ovation for the “legacy and the service of Speaker Michael J. Madigan.”
Democrats and most Republicans took to their feet, some GOP House members immediately, others more slowly.
State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, left, outgoing Speaker Mike Madigan, center, and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White pose before new member of the House are sworn in on Wednesday.
In a statement shortly before the swearing in, Madigan said “it’s time for new leadership in the House.”
“I wish all the best for Speaker-elect Welch as he begins a historic speakership,” the statement continued. “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.”
Outgoing state House Speaker Mike Madigan takes his seat Wednesday shortly before the new General Assembly is sworn in — and his successor is chosen.
Regarded as a Madigan loyalist, Welch, 49, was first sworn in to the House in 2013 and will start his fifth term later Wednesday. He would be the 70th Speaker of the Illinois House and the first Black person to hold the position.
Welch, the leading contender for the top House leadership spot, fell five votes short earlier Wednesday morning of the 60 …read more
Source:: Chicago Sun Times