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Rep. Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch elected as new Illinois House Speaker to replace Madigan

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WGEM/AP) — Illinois House Democrats have thrown their support behind Emanuel “Chris” Welch to lead the chamber as Michael Madigan stepped aside from the job he'd held for nearly 40 years.

Madigan lost support among his colleagues after he was implicated in the ComEd bribery scandal earlier this year.

Madigan issued a statement conceding that “it is time for new leadership in the House” after a morning Democratic caucus cast a majority of its votes for Welch, of the Chicago suburb of Hillside.

“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

Madigan, the longest-serving legislative leader in modern U.S. history, failed in a Sunday test vote to get the 60 votes required to reclaim the gavel, largely because of a federal bribery investigation that’s implicated him.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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