History in the House — Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (IL) succeeds Madigan and becomes state’s first Black speaker

January 14, 2021

Addressing reporters after he was sworn in, state House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch, 49, said he hadn’t yet had time to digest the historic nature of the day since it’s been a whirlwind 48 hours.

Signaling the end of one era and the beginning of another, state Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch was elected the new speaker of the Illinois House on Wednesday ” succeeding Mike Madigan, the longest serving statehouse speaker in U.S. history.

Welch is the first African American to win the powerful leadership position.

And unlike his predecessor, Welch said he supports limits on how long any one legislator should be allowed to hold the gavel.

The Hillside Democrat was elected, 70 to 44, over House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs on a partisan vote.

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