* Illinois Democratic Women, We Will, Vote Mama and She Votes…
Open Letter to the House Democratic Caucus
We are writing today to strongly encourage the House Democratic Caucus to choose a woman as their new leader when they convene to vote for the Speaker of the House of the 102nd General Assembly. As statewide women’s organizations, we’ve watched with pride and gratification as the declared candidates to the current Speaker, Michael Madigan, have all come from the House Democratic Women’s Caucus, which in the past several years has taken the lead on legislation important to us such as the Clean Energy Jobs Act, Equal Rights Amendment Ratification, and Reproductive Health Act, as well as initiatives on minimum wage, education, and mental health.
While we appreciate the leadership the current Speaker has provided, we believe it is time for a change, and choosing a strong female leader is the change that is needed. We’ve also watched with some concern arguments that are being made that Speaker Madigan is the only one running who can hold the caucus together, pass important legislation, and help re-elect his members. This suggests that the female candidates that have announced do not share these same qualities. We do not believe that to be true. Further, we find that sexist school of thought to be one that has permeated the legislature in Springfield for decades. Changing that culture is another reason why it is important that a woman should be chosen to lead.
All the female candidates that have declared their intention to run for Speaker of the House have done so in an environment that has been hostile to a change in leadership; this alone gives credence to their courage and fortitude. Illinois is on the precipice of a great transition as we work to come out of a global pandemic and restore jobs to working families and revive an economy that has been ravaged by Covid-19. We recognize strong leadership is needed to meet these challenges and many pressing issues, especially the much-needed criminal justice reform being championed by the House Black Caucus. We believe that all the women who have announced their candidacy are up to this challenge and strongly urge the House Democratic caucus to elect one of them as their new Speaker.
Today, 19 Illinois House Democrats in opposition to Michael Madigan’s re-election as Speaker of the House released the following statement:
“After meeting the past two days in Springfield, and having had the opportunity to participate in multiple candidate forums in the Speaker’s election, our position has not changed. We will not be supporting Michael J. Madigan for Speaker of the Illinois House at any stage of the voting process. It is time for new Democratic leadership in the Illinois House.”
*** UPDATE 1 *** Illinois NOW has joined the call to elect a woman Speaker. Click here for the revised press release.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Women’s March Chicago has now signed the letter. Click here.
*** UPDATE 3 *** Indivisible Illinois and Chicago NOW have also joined the letter.
*** UPDATE 4 *** More signatories…
Indivisible Oak Park
Friends Who March
*** UPDATE 5 *** The Democratic Women of McDonough County has added its name to the list and released this statement…
The Democratic Women of McDonough County, a 501(c)4 non-profit, firmly supports the call for Illinois to have our First Woman Speaker named. It’s time for Democrats to show allyship to women and send a strong message of solidarity with womens rights and interests, which are the interests of all our communities. Representation matters.
*** UPDATE 6 *** More…
Lake County Democratic Women