By JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, will be the next speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives after days of closed-door meetings with fellow Democrats.
Michael Madigan, who has been speaker for all but two years since 1983, issued a statement congratulating Welch as “speaker-elect” minutes before lawmakers were set to make the vote official.
Welch will be the state’s first Black speaker.
“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,” Madigan said in a statement. “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.”
Welch was expected to meet reporters for a news conference after the vote.
This story will be updated.
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.