Legislators weigh-in on new leadership
SPRINGFIELD – There have been some significant state legislative leadership changes in the past week.
Many are still surprised at the news that Mike Madigan is no longer speaker of the Illinois House – a position he held for countless years. House Democrats elected Representative Chris Welch of Hillside.
“I don’t know that we ever thought we would see that in our time in Springfield but it has occurred,” State Rep. Dan Brady said last week.
Brady feels the division was just too much for Madigan within his own party. He considers Rep. Welch a significant change for the speaker role.
“Time will tell as we move into it how we in the House Republican caucus are going to be treated and how we are going to be able to try and advance some of the many issues we have in Illinois,” Brady added.
Another change occurred in the Illinois Senate last week with Don Harmon selected to replace longtime Senate president John Cullerton.
“He is an attorney by trade,” explained State Senator Jason Barickman. “While I anticipate he’ll have his own agenda that he’ll hope to move, I think he is someone you can work with.”
Barickman considers Harmon a lawmaker with plenty of experience.
The Illinois Senate also has a new Republican leader and Barickman has been asked to serve as the caucus chair in charge in helping to advance an agenda through the legislative cycle. Barickman also serves as floor leader which is a role he is excited about.
“The bottom line is there are a lot of new people in new roles and hopefully that creates some opportunities for us,” Barickman said.