When the 102nd General Assembly convened at noon on Wednesday, Welch was elected speaker.
Welch is the first black speaker, and takes over for Mike Madigan, who has served in that role for all two years since 1983.
Welch said, “As the speaker of this chamber, it is a huge responsibility. I feel honored, and my commitment is to do this to the best of my ability.”
JUST IN: State Rep. Chris Welch will be the next House Speaker to replace Mike Madigan. @ ABC7Chicago
– Craig Wall ABC 7 (@craigrwall) 13 January 2021
Breaking: Welch garnered 69 votes for the presidency.
– Craig Wall ABC 7 (@craigrwall) 13 January 2021
Welch defeated several rivals including two women who played the role of the speaker. It took three caucus votes in the last two days before reaching the leadership position.
After the MPs were sworn in on Wednesday afternoon, Welch was elected with 70 votes, 10 more than he needed.
State Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford) said, “Welch did not choose the moment. The moment chose Welch.”
The new speaker has come at a time when the state is struggling with economic devastation due to lack of big budget and COVID-19 epidemic.
“What we need to do is bring the virus under control,” Welch said. “If we are going to grow our economy properly, we have to accept that the federal government’s week-to-week, month-to-month approach to COVID-19 is not working.”
Welch called on either side of the aisle to work together.
“We meet the challenge of being united, not divided. We are not Democrats and Republicans when we come to work,” Welch said. “Today is the last time I will talk about us as Democrats and Republicans because I want to talk about our unity.”
Madigan announced on Monday that he had suspended his bid to get the re-elected president after falling short of the required 60 votes during a caucus over the weekend. Wednesday marked 50 years as state representative for Madigan.
Welch praised Madigan for his contributions to Illinois, but Republican leader Jim Durkin drew complaints from Democrats when he lambasted Madigan, who leaves the speaker’s office under a federal corruption investigation by Comed. He summons Welch to make a break from Madigan’s iron fist leadership model.
“I’m going to work in good faith, but the way I’ve seen things has been to this day since the beginning of the Special Investigative Committee, and, as I said, I’ll set the reset button,” Mr. Welch Very close to the speaker is Medigan, “Durkan said. I am expanding the olive branch of cooperation starting today.”
Welch received unanimous support of the House Black Caucus and received 50 votes in the first round of voting by the full Democratic Caucus last night.
Welch received 55 votes, with 17 MPs voting in the second round of voting on Wednesday morning. Madigan did not take part in the voting, but remained in the speaker’s office in the capital, where his spokesman said he had started collecting items to go out.
According to State Rep. Mike Zalewski, during the Morning Caucus, Welch defended the allegations on himself that recently surfaced about a domestic violence incident from 2002 involving a girlfriend who led Hillside police Welch to an argument Later slammed his head on a counter. Welch also addressed a 2010 federal lawsuit by a different woman who alleged sexual harassment and retaliation.
Madigan released a statement on Wednesday after voting, “As I prepare a new generation of Democratic leadership to pass the speaker’s gavel, I am confident of the people of my district and members of the House Democratic Caucus and I want to thank you for the trust. Has kept in me over the years. I would like to thank my staff for their hard work on behalf of each member of this caucus. To help bring them together is an honor of a lifetime.
“It is time for new leadership in the House. I wish the Speaker-Elect Welch all the best as he begins a landmark speech. Today I sincerely hope that the caucus I leave him and who works with him Will. Stronger than when I started. And as I see a large and diverse democratic majority, we are filled with young leaders ready to advance our state, strong women and people of color, and our state. “We have members representing all parts of the state. I believe Illinois remains in good hands.”
Illinois Republican Party President Tim Schneider released a statement saying, “House Democrats elected to rape America’s most corrupt politician Mike Madigan. Chris Welch, a top Madigan lieutenant who was indicted by several women in court documents Harassment, assault, and retaliation.
It is now clear that House Democrats are doubling down on allowing Madigan’s corrupt machine to continue state government. In place of Madigan, he has promoted a serial harasser and the killing of women. But despite this, Welch passed the most important test this fall – he is a loyal Madigan aide for years but most recently performed at a legislative hearing as a human shield of Madigan investigating a widespread corruption scandal that Finally brought Medigan down.
This decision is a shock to the people of Illinois, and we will ensure that every voter understands that House Democrats cannot just leave Madigan. ”
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