January 13, 2021


MEDIA CONTACT: Melanie Krakauer (312) 607-4977

Statement on new Illinois House speaker

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Jan. 13, 2021) – State Rep. Chris Welch is poised to become the next Illinois House Speaker today. This marks the end of an era under House Speaker Mike Madigan, coinciding with Madigan’s 50th anniversary in the Statehouse. Prior to today, a total of three Democratic state representatives had cast their vote against his speakership.

Matt Paprocki, president of the Illinois Policy Institute, offered 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.”

To learn more about how to change the House Rules and end corruption in Illinois, visit illin.is/HouseRules.

For bookings or interviews, contact media@illinoispolicy.org or (312) 607-4977.