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

Illinois Capitol

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
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Jena Kleindl

Jena joined the WREX team in May 2020 as the Assignment Editor and News Producer. She was born and raised in Freeport. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in 2020.

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