SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, D-Glenview, who was sworn in for her second term as an Illinois state representative for the 17th district on Wednesday, released the following statement:
“House Democrats have made a transformational change in our caucus by electing a new Speaker of the House. I congratulate my colleague, Representative Emmanuel “Chris” Welch, on his victory and I look forward to working with him as we lead Illinois through these uncertain times. I am proud that our caucus has finally elected a person of color to lead us. Speaker Welch represents real progress.
“As the first African-American Speaker of the House in Illinois’ 202-year history, his perspective and leadership is invaluable as we seek to combat racial inequity and anti-blackness in our communities. Speaker Welch has fought to expand access to healthcare for Illinois families, been a staunch ally of environmental organizations and has been a leader in protecting a woman’s right to choose.
“I am encouraged by the role that women played in this process. The first voices to call on former Speaker Madigan to retire were women. Women led the process to change our leadership from the beginning. I trust Speaker Welch to lead the House with an agenda that protects women’s rights, increases environmental sustainability and creates a more equitable Illinois.
“I am proud of the careful consideration and process that our caucus underwent. We came out of that process more united than we have ever been. That commitment to cooperation will be a vital asset and fills me with hope and resolve for the upcoming legislative session.
“The election of a new Speaker is not the end of this historic transformation, it is just the beginning. Addressing the immense challenges that our state faces while identifying new opportunities will be a herculean effort. It will require bold leadership, innovative solutions and difficult decisions. I am more confident than ever that our caucus, united around Speaker Welch, will rise to meet these challenges and work together to lead Illinois into a bright future.”