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Democratic women’s groups back to urging election of a woman Speaker of the House

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021

* I asked Illinois Democratic Women for a response yesterday to my blog post from earlier in the day entitled “Women’s groups now say that new House Speaker must have supported the ERA, HB40 and the RHA.”

“Just yesterday,” I wrote, “the groups were demanding that a woman be elected Speaker.”

First, some background.

* On Sunday, Illinois Democratic Women, We Will, Vote Mama, She Votes and eventually numerous other groups issued this statement

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.

* On Monday, many of the same groups sent out this statement

With the news of Speaker Madigan suspending his campaign, our coalition recognizes that more candidates may join the race for Speaker of the House. It is our expectation as strong supporters of women’s rights, and especially women’s reproductive rights, that the next Speaker of the House from the Democratic caucus will have supported the ERA, HB40, and the RHA, and is planning to support the repeal of the Parental Notification Act. We cannot go backwards to protecting the rights of women and girls in Illinois.

* Today, Illinois Democratic Women, Illinois NOW, We Will and Vote Mama issued this statement…

We stand by our statement from Sunday. Democratic women in Illinois want to see leadership change in the Illinois House of Representatives that reflects our gender and our values. We urge House Democrats to elect a strong, woman leader as the Speaker of the House. We expect whoever that woman is, she will put together a diverse leadership team that reflects all Illinois Democrats.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

35 Comments »
  1. - Anon E. Moose - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:20 am:

    Backpedal much…nothing like overreaching before your candidate even makes the final cut.


  2. - "Old Timer Dem" - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:22 am:

    I expect a hispanic woman may surface as a candidate.


  3. - The First One - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:23 am:

    A woman in the circle of male leaders is a critical viewpoint that cannot be duplicated by a man speaking on behalf of women. Leader Christine Radogno did it admirably for 6 years.


  4. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:23 am:

    @Anon E Moose: have any candidates made the final cut yet?

    Everyone will have to agree. Unlike every other vote the House has taken, there’s no speaker to broker this vote.


  5. - Ok - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:24 am:

    But… they have a candidate who has made the final cut.


  6. - Anon E Moose - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:26 am:

    Hey 10:20am, get your own name.


  7. - Pizza Man - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:26 am:

    Yes. It’s. Time.


  8. - Pizza Man - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:27 am:

    I’m guessing they’re saying no to MJM to a Rep. Welch candidacy I take it.


  9. - South Side Sam - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:27 am:

    A candidate’s sex should not be a qualifier or a disqualifier for ANY job.


  10. - Amy - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:33 am:

    Not sure how you can reconcile support for the Black Caucus’ agenda and support for this position?


  11. - Mango - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:36 am:

    so much focus on who is the right Hispanic candidate, who is the right black candidate, who is the right woman candidate.

    this need to check a box instead of picking the best candidate is so predictable.

    If this is the game then at least give it to cassidy. she checks 2 boxes. thats more than welch and williams.


  12. - Moe Berg - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:38 am:

    I wonder if all the women members of the House Democratic caucus believe the next speaker *must* be a woman.

    I suspect the answer is no.

    Clearly, there are women in the Black Caucus who support Chris Welch for speaker. No one should imply those women have insufficient care or concern for issues that are important to women.


  13. - Birds on the Bat - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:41 am:

    A candidate’s sex should not be a qualifier or a disqualifier for ANY job.

    Nor should their race.


  14. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:44 am:

    @South Side Sam: presumably, a person’s race shouldn’t be a qualifier or disqualifier, either?

    The caucus has to find someone they’re all content with. Each member had one vote they have complete control over.


  15. - Ferris Wheeler - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:45 am:

    IDW co-chair Jennifer Camille Lee worked for the Pritzker campaign as a statwide coordinator.

    She now runs consulting firm JCL Strategies.

    in 2019 JCL Strategies, based in Springfield, was hired by Kelly Cassidy’s campaign and paid $15K to do communications consulting on cannabis.

    That is a lot of coincidences.


  16. - Sayitaintso - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:57 am:

    ‘A candidates sex should not be a qualifier or disqualifier….’. Neither should gender.


  17. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:00 am:

    ===That is a lot of coincidences===

    Yeah, because like 20 women’s groups are being bought off to support a woman for Speaker with $15K.

    Some of y’all must think we’re stupid.


  18. - Commisar Gritty - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:01 am:

    @Ferris Wheeler
    Coincidences or someone that is driven in her career?


  19. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:01 am:

    “That is a lot of coincidences.”

    You’re right — it’s not a coincidence when competent and accomplished people hire competent and accomplished people.

    That’s what competent and accomplished people do.

    – MrJM


  20. - Pizza Man - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:01 am:

    Sayinaintso….‘A candidates sex should not be a qualifier or disqualifier….’. Neither should gender.’

    I’m confused?


  21. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:02 am:

    choice of gender of a candidate was always implicit in the years of Illinois House and Senate, Speaker and President. being upset at the ask that it be a woman is so telling.


  22. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:02 am:

    ===is so telling===

    Agreed.


  23. - Shytown - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:09 am:

    So where do they stand exactly? I’m genuinely confused.


  24. - Don't do it for a retweet - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:30 am:

    I hope the caucus does not get bogged down in identity/gender politics and avoid electing someone who can actually move the state forward in favor of someone that makes a great headline. Sure it would be great it was a woman. Even better if it was a woman of color from a working class community. But at the end of the day people want policy not performative politics.


  25. - crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:32 am:

    what is confusing about asking for a woman and opposing candidates that do not vote for specific policies affecting women


  26. - SaulGoodman - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:34 am:

    I don’t think that the original statement (we need a woman) and the second statement (we need a Speaker that voted for ERA, RHA, HB40) are in conflict.

    You can have both of those things.

    So, now they’re clarifying and saying that they want a woman who voted for ERA, RHA, and HB40.


  27. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:35 am:

    “A candidate’s sex should not be a qualifier or a disqualifier for ANY job.”

    If a woman becomes the next Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, a staggering one point five percent of the speakers will have been women.

    Getting the job only 98.5% of the time doesn’t seem like an overly onerous burden for us white dudes.

    – MrJM


  28. - crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:35 am:

    what is unseemly about the women’s caucus doing “gender politics”


  29. - The problem with gender politics - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:51 am:

    ===what is unseemly about the women’s caucus doing “gender politics”===

    Gender should always be secondary or least important. You can be a rich white woman even rich woman of color from the suburbs who does not understand systemic issues that plague all low income people (Disproportionately black/brown men/women). On paper that looks like a great upgrade but are people actually going to benefit from a woman who has voted progressively on choice issues? As a women’s caucus should they not be asking that potential speakers be good on economic issues that disproportionately affect woman and woman of color? Criminal justice reform? Healthcare? Why only choice? Probably because it is the least divisive issue among dems. Does not require any real change. MJM supported all of this as well. So it looks like you only want a surface level change.


  30. - South Side Sam - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:56 am:

    Anonymous, your presumption is correct .


  31. - crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 12:03 pm:

    Of course the Women’s Caucus should ask that potential speakers be good on economic issues that disproportionately affect women and women of color. And the Black Caucus should ask that potential speakers be good on gender issues that disproportionately affect women of color.

    == Gender should always be secondary or least important. ==

    nah


  32. - The problem with gender politics - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 12:07 pm:

    ===Of course the Women’s Caucus should ask that potential speakers be good on economic issues that disproportionately affect women and women of color. And the Black Caucus should ask that potential speakers be good on gender issues that disproportionately affect women of color.===
    I hope they do. It would be great if they highlighted specific bills. They are saying things like support criminal justice reform, environmental justice, etc. Very general would like something more concrete from all potential candidates.


  33. - Sayitaintso - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 12:12 pm:

    Pizza Man: I see my attempt at humor once again finds more confusion than chuckles. Not your fault.


  34. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 1:07 pm:

    OK, I’m done. I do not have time to constantly police these comments. You neanderthals are gonna be banned for life starting now.


  35. - Excuse me - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 5:02 pm:

    I identify as Homo sapien


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