Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** Welch claims “smear campaign led by the Republican Party, and some in our party” tried to derail his election
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*** UPDATED x1 *** Welch claims “smear campaign led by the Republican Party, and some in our party” tried to derail his election

Thursday, Jan 14, 2021

* Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton

“I do plan to have the Legislature very involved in the process,” Welch said. “This year, we’re working through COVID protocols. We’ll use the [Bank of Springfield] Center if we have to but we’re looking at a safe return to the Capitol so that we can be engaged in the governing process in 2021.” […]

Normally the House would adopt its rules after members are sworn in, but Welch said he’s taken that off the table for Thursday’s session. He’s “promised my caucus that we would do an examination and make changes where we can possibly make changes and … we’re going to keep that promise right away.” […]

Addressing concerns around the allegations and the belief by some that it should disqualify him, Welch said he thinks the work he’s done demonstrates the person he is.

“I believe that the work that I have done in the legislature has demonstrated who I am as a person … it demonstrates what people think of me because this happened pretty fast and many of my colleagues are the ones who encouraged me to do this,” Welch said. “… I think that’s because they know me, they’ve worked with me and I think there’s a smear campaign led by the Republican Party, and some in our party, to try to prevent this moment in history from happening. Many great moments in history, you have to go through things and I don’t see this [as being] any different.”


…Adding… Dave Dahl

Welch also has a past to answer to. He was accused about ten years ago of sexually harassing female school district employees when he was the school board president; and about twenty years ago of beating a former girlfriend. One of the two Present votes in the speaker’s vote came from State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), who later said the allegations should be more thoroughly investigated.

“Let me tell you something about Rep. Kelly Cassidy,” Welch said. “We’re friends, and we don’t always agree. And when we disagree, we disagree respectfully. So i respect how she has handled this approach. Do I agree with it? Not necessarily. But i respect it.”

The ex-girlfriend did not press charges, and proceedings in sexual harassment suits were dropped.

…Adding… Mary Ann Ahern at NBC 5

Welch responded to concerns about the Hillsdale incident, saying that he would have “handled the situation differently.”

“Nothing happened that you should be concerned about,” he said. “I was not arrested and charged and would I handle a situation differently, where I don’t have to go to a police station and answer questions, absolutely.”

Before he left Springfield, Madigan offered some simple advice to his replacement: to “trust his instinct.”

*** UPDATE *** Illinois NOW…

Yesterday, history was made in the Illinois State Capitol as Representative Emanuel “Chris” Welch became the first Black person to be elected Speaker of the House in Illinois. We celebrate this historic step toward legislative leadership that more accurately represents and celebrates the diversity of Illinois citizens. Newly-elected Speaker Welch has long been a strong advocate for women’s rights, and we look forward to working with him to pass laws that protect Illinois women, including the repeal of the Illinois Parental Notification Act.

In the midst of this historic day, another strong advocate for women’s rights, Representative Kelly Cassidy, voted “present” in Speaker Welch’s election. Rep. Cassidy’s present vote stemmed from re-surfaced allegations of domestic violence and sexual harassment against Speaker Welch. Like Rep. Cassidy, we acknowledge and condemn the long and shameful history of wrongful accusations against Black men in this country, and are loath to detract from Speaker Welch’s historic achievement. However, we must acknowledge that women’s voices have also historically been silenced, especially the voices of women of color. As such, we believe that serious allegations of this nature must be fully investigated, no matter who the allegations are against. We stand in solidarity with Representative Cassidy.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 3:41 pm:

    Chris Welch says more in a day than Mike Madigan does in a year. It probably won’t serve him well.

  2. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 3:42 pm:

    I think some women legislators are asking legitimate questions. I don’t think that is a “smear.”

  3. - Ferris Wheeler - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 3:43 pm:

    I wonder who he could mean?

  4. - Rabid - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 3:46 pm:

    Life comes at you pretty fast

  5. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 3:46 pm:

    Thicker skin is needed, Mr. Speaker.

  6. - Roger Abbott - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 3:48 pm:

    If any 8th grader with internet access can find this evidence in 5 minutes, can he really call it a “smear campaign”.

    What did he expect was going to happen? He’s lucky it wasn’t circulated a day sooner.

  7. - Ferris Wheeler - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 3:48 pm:

    @Ron - I think Welch is suggesting that a Dem legislator was involved in digging up the fresh dirt and spreading it around.

    Hannah managed to produce new evidence pretty quickly that did not come from the GOP, which has been trafficking OR for weeks.

    Maybe Hannah found something that Durkin missed on her own, maybe she had help.

  8. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 3:49 pm:

    A moment in history for sure but “great”?

  9. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 3:49 pm:

    ===maybe she had help. ===

    Nope. She used Pacer.

  10. - WH Mess - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 3:54 pm:

    Call me impressed with the magnanimity to Rep. Cassidy.

  11. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 3:58 pm:

    You win if you had less than 24 hours in the pool of how long it would take for the speakership to go to Speaker Welch’s head.

  12. - Lincoln Lad - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 3:58 pm:

    Mr. Speaker - don’t swing at every pitch. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to speak… don’t take every one. It’s different now.

  13. - Birds on the Bat - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 4:00 pm:

    Not a smear campaign, Mr. Speaker. A truth campaign.

  14. - Responsibility - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 4:02 pm:

    Why is it that especially politicians try to pass the buck for their own actions. It would be refreshing if one would just admit they made a mistake or something

  15. - 1st Ward - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 4:13 pm:

    It’s unbelievable that he doesn’t deny any of the allegations or police reports and expects a pass. These answers do not make it just go away. Was he living under a rock during the Kavanaugh hearings? Good lord.

  16. - Literally just quoting Rep. Welch's twitter - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 4:23 pm:

    “How will history Judge America after today? Will the President and GOP do the right thing and withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court? Dr. Ford’s testimony is beyond credible and riveting #WithdrawKavanaughNOW”

    That’s what Welch said on twitter in 2018. His views seem to have shifted since then.

  17. - Kelly - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 4:25 pm:

    Why does it always have to be about Kelly Cassidy?

  18. - Michael Feltes - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 4:37 pm:

    Did Welch assault his ex-girlfriend? If he did, he is not fit for office. The fact that charges were not filed proves nothing and disproves nothing. I don’t care what the GOP says about it. Has Welch answered the question directly?

  19. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 4:38 pm:

    === I think the word you’re looking for is HYPOCRITE.===

    Don’t you support Trump if I recall?

  20. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 4:43 pm:

    “Nothing happened that you should be concerned about.”

    [slow boil]

  21. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 4:45 pm:

    Politicizing or making partisan is not helpful, including for Welch.

  22. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 4:46 pm:

    === you are wrong===

    That you support Trump? You sure?

  23. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 4:54 pm:

    - Birds on the Bat -

    Politicizing or making partisan is not helpful, including for Welch.

  24. - Responsa - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 4:58 pm:

    Not off to a great start with the new speaker are we?

  25. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 5:08 pm:

    === Tom Ricketts at Cub games.===

    I regret that picture in today. That was a few years back.

    Who knows, maybe Ricketts regrets that picture too?


    Politicizing or making partisan is not helpful, including for Welch.

  26. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 5:18 pm:

    === …is an important elite in Illinois. At the forefront of public policy.===

    Just because cannabis is legal, it doesn’t mean one should overindulge.

  27. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 5:21 pm:

    Pick a House Dem, any House Dem, for Speaker. Do you think the Republicans (as well as others who might oppose that person for a variety of reasons) won’t bring up something from that person’s past that would make them look bad, sometimes very bad. That is the current political reality. The Republicans might complain about “cancel culture,” but they love it and use it whenever they can.

    We don’t know what was being held in the bag on the other leading candidates. But I can imagine folks choosing not to toss their names in the ring (or withdrawing them) because they did not wish to deal with scurrilous allegations, whether true or not, whether serious or not.

    Given that reality, the House Dems have to decide whether or not a person can serve them as Speaker despite their flaws, whatever they might be. For now, they have chosen Rep. Welch. They were aware of the allegations and decided, for now, that the potential benefits of his leadership outweighed the negative allegations. Rep. Welch has a chance to show that the choice was a good one. Part of that will be how he deals with things from his past, part will be how he runs the House.

  28. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 5:51 pm:

    === I can’t believe Rich hasn’t stopped this…===


    How callous are you to use *that* language in *this* post, given it’s subject - SumGai1986 -

    What does that say about you?

    Maybe take a step back, think.

  29. - Captain Obvious - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 6:02 pm:

    This “smear campaign” seems to extend well beyond the vast right wing conspiracy now and forever arrayed against the speaker. He is obviously expecting a pass here despite his calls for Republicans to abandon Kavanaugh. Bit arrogant and hypocritical.

  30. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 6:05 pm:

    - SumGai1986 -

    Your lack of self awareness to words to drool says something about you.

    You should be embarrassed. Your choice of words, wow.

    You’re not.

    I’d stop.

  31. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 7:03 pm:

    === means nothing to us Capital Fax readers.===

    Speak for yourself newbie.

  32. - Springfield Golfer - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 9:23 pm:

    Will Welch be more popular than Rich and OW at the Springfield County Club with the ladies?

  33. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 9:33 pm:

    Practical questions:

    1. Havent the accusations against Welch already been investigated?

    2. If they are to be investigated a second time, who has the authority to do that? These allegations all predate his election, correct?

    3. If there is to be another special investigative committee, does the chair of that committee automatically become Speaker, or is Greg Harris next in line? Or does it go back to Madigan?

  34. - Sling - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 7:02 am:

    ==“How will history Judge America after today? Will the President and GOP do the right thing and withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court? Dr. Ford’s testimony is beyond credible and riveting #WithdrawKavanaughNOW” That’s what Welch said on twitter in 2018. His views seem to have shifted since then.==

    If that’s what he truly believed that’s what he truly believed. Why do you say his view shifted?
    If something is in a police report and he believes it’s not true why would he think he is like Kavanaugh? You are making a lot of assumptions.

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