After 37 Years, Illinois Democrats Elect a New House Speaker

Written by Hon. Jeanne Ives

Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) is no longer the Speaker of the Illinois House. He has been replaced by State Representative Emanuel Chris Welch (D-Winchester). I would withhold the applause or hope that things in Illinois will change.

First, Welch has been a reliable ally of Madigan since Welch was first elected in 2013.

Second, Welch saved Madigan from investigation by an Illinois House panel.

Third, he is responsible for supporting and voting for legislation that has made Illinois the worst run state in the Union. On the ComEd/Exelon bailout bill that is one of the bills at the center of the ComEd bribery investigation and for which Madigan in under federal investigation, Welch voted “Yes.” On every unbalanced budget, tax hike, and pension expansion bill–bills that hurt business and protect unions–Welch voted “Yes.”

Illinois will still be controlled by Madigan through Welch or it will be controlled by the Progressive Black Caucus which doesn’t know the words compromise or restraint. The latter is arguably worse.

To boot, Welch has a record of abuse towards women including when in a position of authority over them. It is shocking that the Democrat women would support him. I guess #metoo isn’t a problem anymore for the 300 women who signed the letter about harassment in 2017.

I served six years in the Illinois House with Welch. He was not a mover and shaker. He wasn’t someone you went to in order to work on a bipartisan basis on legislation. The Democrats, including black Democrats who apparently held the trump cards in this vote, had much better choices if the state wanted to move forward on the policy front. Welch was known for his often fiery, racially charged speeches delivered in a booming voice to hammer a point regardless of the illogic of his argument. He wasn’t known for someone you would reach out to for policy advice or expertise on an issue. He is all politics.

I don’t recall him ever holding the gavel and running the actual floor debate. His competence with regard to managing the business of the speaker’s duties and running the legislative calendar are in question. Madigan had four more years in office when he took over as speaker than Welch has today.

It is good that Madigan is no longer speaker. But all of the Democrats who have voted for him for years and voted for the policies that have bankrupted Illinois should be out of office as well. Illinois needs to change direction 180 degrees. That won’t happen under Speaker Welch. The moving companies will have another banner year in 2021 in Illinois.


Jeanne Ives is a wife and mother of 5 children, a West Point graduate, a retired US Army platoon leader and ROTC instructor. She served three terms as an Illinois State Representative from Wheaton, Illinois. First elected in 2012, State Representative Ives demonstrated not only a willingness to lead on difficult issues and question powerful Illinois House leaders, but also an insightful understanding of policy. In 2018, she was enlisted by Illinois families and business owners, as well as legislative colleagues to run a campaign for Governor against a pro-abortion RINO. In 2020 she ran for U.S. Congress against a Cultural Marxist, but fell short by six percentage points.


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