* Amanda Vinicky did an expert job of live-tweeting Speaker Chris Welch’s first press conference…
First question is about what Welch will do to grow the economy. His answer: First, we need to get COVID under control b/c the feds’ approach thus far isn’t working.
“I haven’t had time to digest anything .. it’s been like a whirlwind 48 hours,” Welch says, noting that he’s on two hours of sleep … and he hasn’t had any before then. I’ll take it all in at some point, it’s going to hit me”
He’s so conditioned to fight, punch, Welch says of Durkin’s jabs at Madigan during his speech. But Welch says Durkin once supported him in a run for local school board. It’s an opportunity to develop a new relationship in this space.
Welch asked about the incidents with women in 2002, 2010; no need to go beyond that statement, he says. I respect the privacy of those involved. But you have to recognize that one incident was over 20 years ago — people mature, they handle situations differently
My life’s work shows that I respect women. The reason I’m here today is because my colleagues (men and women) asked me to do this, Welch says.
Last night, women met with Welch; he says it was “cordial, professional and I thought powerful.”
What’s an appropriate term limit: I think ten years. Asked will it be a rule? Welch says it should be a law, let’s pass one.
What are Welch’s priorities on ethics and how does he rebuild trust after the ComEd scandal/fed investigation? He talks about the final-hour ethics bill as a start. re: ComEd DPA, it’s being handled by the US Attorney, people should feel confident that’ll continue
Welch says Madigan should be applauded: We have 73 Democrats and are in the super-majority because of his leadership. There are some things we have to do differently, though.
Welch says he supports “fair maps” for redistricting. We’ll try to do the best we can, be as transparent as possible.
When @DonHarmonIL was elected Senate President, he stepped away from his job at a law firm. Welch says he’s had preliminary talks with partners at his law firm; he expect he will do the same and will make an announcement if/when it comes to that
“When you’ve been oppressed for 400 years there’s going to be some tension,” Welch said when asked about what he can do to help heal racial tensions.
What will he change? Welch says he’s going to be having a lot of conversations about that, and soon. For one, a leadership team that reflects the diversity of Illinois and the caucus (including 52% women)
* For more on the redistricting stuff, this is from CHANGE Illinois…
Speaker Chris Welch has a long track record of supporting independent redistricting. He has co-sponsored the Fair Maps Amendment and wrote about it here:
The people of Illinois long have made known their strong support for moving to an independent redistricting process. In a CHANGE Illinois survey last year, 75 percent of voters supported it.
I hope you will ask our new Speaker about his plans for redistricting soon and that editorial boards will encourage him to live up to his longstanding support.