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Rep. Kelly Cassidy says she wants “troubling” allegations from Speaker Chris Welch’s past “vigorously reviewed”

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2021

Following is a statement from State Rep. Kelly Cassidy in response to today’s vote for Speaker of the House of Representatives:

“While Speaker Madigan has dedicated his life to this chamber, it was clear that the time for change has come. And that change comes in the election of the first Black Speaker of the House. That is something our state should celebrate, especially on the heels of the historic criminal justice reform package we passed today–which was a direct result of the work of our Black Caucus. Having a more diverse slate of leaders in Illinois right now is critical, which is why I decided not to put my own name in for Speaker, after some serious consideration.

“While I have always had a strong relationship with and a great deal of respect for Speaker Welch and believe him to be a good man, I reserved my vote and recorded myself as ‘present’ in the Speaker’s election today. I did so because, at the same time that we’re ending years of scandal over allegations of sexual harassment and corruption, we have also just been made aware of troubling allegations from Speaker Welch’s past. He has denied each allegation, and we certainly have seen plenty of examples of Black men being wrongfully accused. I feel strongly that I have been too outspoken on issues of sexual harassment and domestic violence to simply ignore these questions.

“I have worked with victims for decades. I am a survivor of domestic violence. I trust women. I know the complexities of choosing to pursue charges or other legal action. This isn’t a simple situation–and it should not be dismissed as such by any of us.

“It is my fervent wish that these allegations will be vigorously reviewed so that we can move forward as a unified caucus embracing this historic moment.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

69 Comments »
  1. - Anon E Moose - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 3:49 pm:

    Probably should’ve done that before he became Speaker


  2. - Shytown - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 3:50 pm:

    And why speak up only now and not yesterday or Monday or Sunday? or how about when we are in the thick of MeToo?


  3. - Sweet N Sour - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 3:51 pm:

    Maybe she did in caucus. You don’t know.


  4. - Captain Obvious - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 3:54 pm:

    I think a vigorous and thorough investigation would be smart and appropriate. If the choice of speaker exhibited poor judgement, wouldn’t you rathe know now than say fall of 22?


  5. - Ok - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 3:55 pm:

    She did raise these issues (directly and indirectly). So don’t accuse her of doing it after the fact.

    But, she also did vote present BEFORE these issues came out, and before he was even in the race.


  6. - Decaturland - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 3:56 pm:

    Where were the Republicans? They should of made statement Rep. Cassidy did. Avery Bourne, Norrine Hammond AWOL. They were harsher on former rep Jerry Long. Rep. Long deserved that approbation. Rep. Cassidy did the courageous thing. Showed more fortitude than the House GOP.


  7. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 3:59 pm:

    I wish this had been investigated sooner. This could become ugly and divisive and undercut the work of the Speaker and the Democratic Party.


  8. - Kayak - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:01 pm:

    Kelly should have publicly spoke up about this today, yesterday, this week. Instead she used her time to tell us what socks she is wearing.


  9. - Moderate Mom - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:02 pm:

    I was wondering if we would be hearing from Rep.Cassidy and I am glad we have. It is a delicate balance to strike because he is the first African American to hold the position and it will hurt a lot of people if he has to be removed. But the allegations are a serious problem and need to be addressed appropriately and not just brushed aside.


  10. - 1st Ward - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:06 pm:

    “or how about when we are in the thick of MeToo”

    We are in the thick of Black Lives Matter not MeToo. It’s 2021 not 2017/2018. The major legislation that passed was sponsored by the Black Caucus not the Woman’s Caucus. It should be looked into but an Illinois Democrat publicly calling for an investigation at the 11th hour into a history making event (new Speaker and First Black Speaker) in a history making year when an inordinate amount of business needs to take place is not the battle any democrat wants to initiate. Timing is key.


  11. - jball - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:07 pm:

    Wonder what Lang and Silverstein are thinking ?


  12. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:10 pm:

    Whether Rep. Cassidy spoke up in directly or indirectly, today or last Sunday….she spoke up for hundreds of Illinois women (who have had these similar situations). Period.

    She stuck her neck out–to the newly minted Speaker.

    Like Rep. Kifowitz, that’s courage. She may not get a plum assignment but she spoke up. All women, including her female House Dems, should applaud her.


  13. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:13 pm:

    This absolutely has nothing to do with race. We would have welcomed with open arms with a Rep. W. Davis, an Art Turner, Jr., a Rep. Carol Ammons, and so forth.

    This has nothing to do with political affiliation either.


  14. - Ok - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:16 pm:

    Will Davis was never going to be speaker, Pizza Man.


  15. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:17 pm:

    I’ve seen some troubling information regarding Welch by a reputable source. It needs to be brought forward.


  16. - Frumpy White Guy - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:18 pm:

    I have always been a big fan of hers. Cassidy is way off and her state of mind might have more to do with the fact that she’s struggling with not being speaker of the house. I would say tap down on the emotional angst and focus on the future. Speaker Welch said that he would be Speaker no more than 10 years. That’s plenty of time for Kelly to make her big move.


  17. - Northfielder - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:21 pm:

    Did anyone confront Welch about his Twitter likes of scantily clad women? We just went from a Speaker who never used a computer to one who apparently check his Twitter feed too much. https://twitter.com/ChairmanSquelch/status/1349183889265213440


  18. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:27 pm:

    @Northfielder, like I wrote, this could get ugly. Me Too is still a stain on the party and we must get it out. that is all this is about.


  19. - Northfielder - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:30 pm:

    @Amalia, If Welch had been a House candidate running against a Madigan-backed candidate in a Tier 1 race, imagine how many negative mailers Madigan would have sent out about this stuff.


  20. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:39 pm:

    “Cassidy is way off and her state of mind might have more to do with the fact that she’s struggling with not being speaker of the house. I would say tap down on the emotional angst and focus on the future.”

    Them dames get too emotional, amirite??

    – MrJM


  21. - Lincoln Lad - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:49 pm:

    A lot of people wanted to know what she was thinking… now you know.


  22. - anon2 - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:52 pm:

    Might as well vet Welch before the GOP does. What doesn’t come out now will surely come out during the next campaign, tying every challenged Dem to the Speaker.


  23. - Ohhhhhhhh - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:53 pm:

    Have any of you ever read the short story “Gooseberries” by Chekov


  24. - far south suburbs - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:58 pm:

    The woman’s caucus wanted to dump Madigan last year because his staff abused women.

    Now they support a police report certified girlfriend beater. Twice

    alot has changed I guess


  25. - Hmm, it does make you think - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 5:00 pm:

    So if I am correct: Madigan is accused of not acting quickly or decisively enough to allegations of sexual harassment in his political staff and government staff.

    Meanwhile, Welch is accused of slamming a woman’s head off the countertop and retaliating against not one but two women who worked under him who refused to give in to his physical advances.

    And a bonus: Welch has been a staunch Madigan ally his whole career.

    And yet? All I see is lefties and Dems patting themselves on the back and eagerly congratulating Welch.

    I am thinking I have to be missing some pieces here because this doesn’t add up.


  26. - JG from PG - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 5:00 pm:

    yes. bring the blood.

    did you people really think that people weren’t going to google Chris Welch? there’s plenty of articles written about this. I believe all women. I want to hear from the accusers.


  27. - Ptown Cynic - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 5:02 pm:

    -What doesn’t come out now will surely come out during the next campaign, tying every challenged Dem to the Speaker.-

    Because Welch? We know “because Madigan” worked so well before. Come on, the GOP has to run on something besides “Because (speaker)”. Work on some substantive legislation or throw grenades. The latter keeps working so well.

    To the post. Cassidy stick her neck out there and is doing what she believes is right for women and her caucus.


  28. - Now I'm down in it. - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 5:04 pm:

    Good on Rep. Cassidy. This is completely crazy that Welch is considered viable in light of his treatment towards women. Crazy.


  29. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 5:05 pm:

    @Northfielder, as the information was coming out 1) I commented to people on this blog not to write things unless there were legit sources, no rumors cause rumors are damaging and 2) I figured it was some move by someone to stay in power/take power by taking out Welch. Turns out, all one had to do is Google and find the article about the girlfriend which I found immediately after writing no rumors. Yes, the oppo mailings would be fierce.


  30. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 5:10 pm:

    Good on her. Common sense questions that deserve answering. Coming from her, a well-respected Dem member prevents pigeon-holing those with questions as racist kooks.


  31. - Been There - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 5:36 pm:

    === Having a more diverse slate of leaders in Illinois right now is critical, which is why I decided not to put my own name in for Speaker, after some serious consideration.===

    Personally I think there was a play here by her (and maybe Greg Harris and Kelly Burke). Like the poker game Jacks or Better or Trips to Win. You don’t have the cards at the moment so you just call and hope you get better cards when nobody else has Jacks or Better. But then somebody ends up with the right hand and they win and you (and others) lose.
    Except instead of redealing and having another chance this game is over.


  32. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 5:38 pm:

    If the alleged DV victim was Black, would we see any statement from Cassidy? Or campaign against Welch? Highly doubtful.


  33. - metoo - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 5:46 pm:

    Too little too late. I think Cassidy is fast becoming irrelevant.


  34. - Dungodare - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 5:53 pm:

    == We are in the thick of Black Lives Matter not MeToo. It’s 2021 not 2017/2018. ==

    Soooooo, it’s ok to harass women now? Come on. If there is an issue it should s be brought to light. There are plenty of legitimate Black candidates who could have stepped up if necessary.


  35. - Disappointed Female Suburban - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 6:03 pm:

    If the alleged DV victim was Black, would we see any statement from Cassidy? Or campaign against Welch? Highly doubtful.

    Seriously

    How does this comment not get removed


  36. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 6:09 pm:

    allegations. multiple victims. but bringing up the race of the victim is exactly the ugly that I hoped where people would not go. also note the Cassidy comment about care for Black men being wrongfully accused. such an allegation against Cassidy is beyond ridiculous and what Disappointed Female Suburban said.


  37. - Been There - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 6:23 pm:

    === How does this comment not get removed====
    See the post before this one. I am guessing Rich is fast asleep. Like I will be soon


  38. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 6:26 pm:

    @Northfielder: Does anyone think that Twitter account is actually his? I mean, actually?


  39. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 6:35 pm:

    - Amalia - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 6:09 pm:-
    - Disappointed Female Suburban - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 6:03 pm:

    Maybe a read a history book or ten?


  40. - Ferris Wheeler - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 6:56 pm:

    Raise your hand if you think that Kelly Cassidy, with all of her planning to be speaker and social media savvy, just discovered these allegations against Welch yesterday with the rest of us.

    The best-laid schemes of mice and women gang aft agley.


  41. - Anon1 - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 6:57 pm:

    @Precinct Captain, that is offensive. I have been sexually harassed more than once. I am white. My first harasser was a Black man. The second was a white man. The third was a white man. The fourth was a Black man. Harassment felt the same each time.


  42. - Northfielder - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 7:03 pm:

    @Socially DIstant Watcher: The Twitter account reporting, @ChairmanSquelch, is a parody but it’s displaying screenshots of ‘LIKES” of these pictures of various women on Twitter by #RepChrisWelch which is in fact his Twitter account so unless the parody is producing doctored screenshots, Welch has some explaining to do.


  43. - Ferris Wheeler - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 7:05 pm:

    @Amalia -

    Cassidy’s statement suggests she cares more than the rest of her colleagues about sexual harrassment or domestic violence. It is insulting.

    She wanted to be Speaker, that was clear, and her colleagues are going to view her behavior through that lens.


  44. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 7:10 pm:

    === and her colleagues are going to view her behavior through that lens.===

    Speak only for yourself.

    You have no idea what her colleagues think of this in context to her.


  45. - Ferris Wheeler - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 7:30 pm:

    === You have no idea what her colleagues think ===

    Let’s ask them.


  46. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 7:45 pm:

    === Let’s ask them.===

    Who’s stopping you?


  47. - yep - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 8:10 pm:

    Hey Northfielder: The pictures he is liking on Facebook are those of his former aide. Nothing nefarious as you imply. Geez, show some decency man.


  48. - Downstate - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 8:13 pm:

    I think he “Vigarously reviewed” several females who worked for him


  49. - AlfondoGonz - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 8:49 pm:

    Sometimes, leaders need to make tough decisions when faced with less than perfect choices.


  50. - Bebe - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 8:58 pm:

    What AlfondoGonz said. We have imperfect choices here.


  51. - Bud - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 9:11 pm:

    Another “holier than thou” north side liberal. Those without sin, cast the first stone. Not surprised in the least, especially with bringing up race in this statement.

    She lost and the privilege of her whiteness is showing.


  52. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 9:13 pm:

    This is the best that we got to offer after Kingmaker MJM’s 37-year reign?

    Each caucus within the House Dems should have selected one of its own: BC, Latino, Latinx, Women’s, Downstaters, Progressive’ caucuses etc and the 5-6 House Dem speaker candidates should have participated in an open forum since Nov or Dec via zoom to hear from these candidates so that the overall Dem Caucus, their peers, could had the opportunity to deliberate with time by the time lame duck session came around during the 2nd week of Jan - especially for this top political position of the legislature.

    This process seemed too rush, highly controlled and possibly by MJM and his allies. You could bet that if MJM didn’t want Rep. Welch as speaker, he wouldn’t have been chosen…

    The ‘legislative trail and history’ is factual…selected for Exec chairmanship (the last chair was D. Burke; it doesn’t go just to anyone); had the big legislative sponsorships; selected chair to the highly controlled Com Ed special committee, etc.


  53. - Disgruntled IL Democrat - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 9:24 pm:

    == Hey Northfielder: The pictures he is liking on Facebook are those of his former aide. Nothing nefarious as you imply. Geez, show some decency man. ==

    Liking bikini pics of your former aide is pretty weird. Especially given his history with women he’s wielded power over.


  54. - Lincoln Lad - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 9:40 pm:

    He’s not Mike Madigan, that’s clear. Seems that’s good and bad.


  55. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 9:47 pm:

    Bud you are a pud. Whiteness?


  56. - Steelyards - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 10:53 pm:

    More of the same. Illinois is in for more financial calamity.


  57. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 12:36 am:

    - Northfielder - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 4:21 pm:

    You should probably learn the difference between Twitter and Instagram, but I understand facts don’t matter much as part of smear campaigns.


  58. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 12:45 am:

    - Disappointed Female Suburban - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 6:03 pm:
    - Amalia - Wednesday, Jan 13, 21 @ 6:09 pm:

    If you don’t know what you’re talking about, you should probably read (or listen) and learn. Class dismissed.

    https://www.aclu.org/blog/racial-justice/race-and-criminal-justice/legal-system-has-failed-black-girls-women-and-non
    https://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3055&context=facpub


  59. - Fly like an eagle - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 8:16 am:

    == Now they support a police report certified girlfriend beater.==
    Welch’s denial is also on the same police report.


  60. - Arock - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 8:34 am:

    “== Now they support a police report certified girlfriend beater.==
    Welch’s denial is also on the same police report.” - yes because guilty people always take responsibility for their actions. Bruising was confirmed a few days after the attack.


  61. - Thanks Jb - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 8:43 am:

    I want to know why the Governor is withholding Coronavirus relief money?


  62. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 9:00 am:

    During the speaker selection, Rep. Cassidy failed to live up to some commenters’ paranoid view of her as a Machiavellian she-devil, so they’re now imposing their various negative preconceptions on this remarkably innocuous statement.

    Words sometimes simply mean what they say.

    Even in 2021.

    – MrJM


  63. - Amalia - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 9:36 am:

    so being concerned about victims….plural in this instance….is somehow not right because we need to check race of victim first? I’ve been a victim of sexual harassment…physical… by 3 different races of men. No history lesson needed.


  64. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 9:45 am:

    - Amalia - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 9:36 am:

    Still not much into reading for comprehension?

    - Arock - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 8:34 am:

    Bruising on the arm, not the head. Read for comprehension and keep up.


  65. - Amalia - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 10:10 am:

    I suggest that Precinct Captain go to the movies…Promising Young Woman sounds like something you should view.


  66. - Just a Citizen - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:03 pm:

    I absolutely agree these issues should be reviewed. There cannot be two sets of rules which is what we have had in the past, unfortunately. Let’s get beyond when she should have brought the issues up and just do the review.


  67. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:48 pm:

    - Amalia - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 10:10 am:

    The movies are closed, try to keep up.


  68. - Fly like an eagle - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 5:58 pm:

    == yes because guilty people always take responsibility for their actions.==

    Because nobody ever lies or ever tries to get someone else in trouble.

    ==Bruising was confirmed a few days after the attack.==

    Bruising was reported by the same person who reported the attack. It was never confirmed.


  69. - Amalia - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 4:25 pm:

    PC, most of us are going to the movies at home. you should keep up.


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