SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - Representative Chris Welch (D-Hillside) will be the 70th Illinois House Speaker.

Welch received 69 votes. 3 voted Present.

This comes after Michael Madigan suspended his campaign for Speaker Monday. He failed to secure the 60 votes needed to secure another term. He had held the position for nearly 40 years.  

Michael Madigan released a statement saying: 

"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." 

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider released the following statement in response:

“House Democrats have chosen to go from Mike Madigan, the most corrupt politician in America, to Rep. Chris Welch, a top Madigan lieutenant who has been credibly accused by multiple women in court documents of harassment, assault, and retaliation. 

It’s now clear that House Democrats are doubling down on allowing Madigan’s corrupt machine to continue running state government. In Madigan’s stead, they have promoted a serial harasser and assaulter of women. But in spite of that, Welch passed the most important test this fall - he’s been a loyal Madigan ally for years but performed most recently as Madigan’s human shield in legislative hearings investigating the sweeping corruption scandal that ultimately brought Madigan down. 

This decision is a travesty for the people of Illinois, and we will make sure every voter understands that House Democrats just can’t quit Madigan.”

Matt Paprocki, President of the Illinois Policy Institute, issued the following statement: 

“This is a historic day for the General Assembly.  For the first time in nearly four decades, Speaker Madigan was not voted into power by members of his own party.

 

“No state gives their House speaker as much power as Illinois. Under Madigan’s 36 years as speaker, Illinois’ finances deteriorated from a perfect credit rating and just under $6 billion in unfunded pension debt to the lowest credit rating in the nation and over $144 billion in pension debt. And the state’s notoriety for public corruption has been backed up by 1,978 public corruption convictions since Madigan first became speaker, more than any other state and over one a week.

 

“This vote must become a catalyst for lasting, meaningful change. Illinois can only reverse its culture of corruption and recurring financial crises by dismantling the system that has allowed for one person to control so much power, starting with the House Rules. For the first time in nearly four decades, state lawmakers have an opportunity to change this power structure and finally put an end to the endless cycle of debt and corruption. This moment in Illinois state politics should not be just about a new face, but about a new way of doing the people’s business."

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