* Dave Dahl interviewed Speaker Chris Welch this week and asked about the upcoming campaign season…
I think it’s going well, we put together a pretty solid political operation, we made some tweaks to what we’ve been accustomed to. I think you’re going to see in a couple of days that we’re going to post almost $12 million on hand - over $7 million in my personal campaign account, over $4 million in our caucus campaign account.
I was going to tell that to subscribers tomorrow because Welch told me the same thing, but apparently he told more than one interviewer.
* Dave then asked Speaker Welch if there was room to expand the super-majority…
I think 2022 is going to be a tough year for Democrats in general. But I definitely think that if we do what we have to do, and get out there and talk to voters about the kitchen-table issues, the things that we have done to help make their lives better, there’s a lot of opportunity for Democrats. And we’re gonna get out there and do the work. Winners do the work.
* Dave also asked if there was anything else he’d like to talk about…
Welch: As you know, before I became Speaker, corporate board diversity was near and dear to me. I think diversity and equity inclusion is something that I’ve always fought for, and I wouldn’t be in this position without it. So I certainly would like to take the opportunity to talk about what I’m in the midst of.
[Monday], I had a meeting with university presidents, tomorrow, I’m meeting with managed care organization CEOs to follow up on our efforts for diversity, equity and inclusion. I held a meeting today where I got to see on full display how the priorities that we care about are changing lives. The diversity that exists right there in the president ranks was just awesome to look at. And when I joined the General Assembly in 2013, it was not that diverse. And so our work is changing lives and making a big difference already. And so I’m going to continue working closely with Chairman Ford, who chairs Higher Ed Approp and Chair Stuart, who chairs Higher Ed. We plan to make this a year where we truly plant the diversity flag in Illinois, especially in higher education.
Dahl: Is that something that can or should be legislated?
Welch: Well, as you know, a couple years ago I passed House Bill 3394, with regard to corporate board diversity that was legislated and it was signed into law by the governor.
With regard to higher education, they come before the legislature seeking billions of dollars every year. And, if you’re going to look for taxpayer dollars, you should make sure that you’re spending your dollars on everyone in the state. Diversity of this country and this state, and that should be reflected in how you spend your dollars.
* On his management style…
Welch: I certainly don’t see myself as anyone’s boss. As a former baseball player athlete in high school and college, I like to see myself more analogous to the captain on a team. We don’t get anything together unless we’re working together. And it takes all parts of the team working together to be a championship team. And I certainly think we showed in 2021 that we worked collectively together, that we are a team. And that because we work together in that fashion, we had a championship year. So I’m more analogous to a teammate, captain on the team that just keeps us all focused.
Dahl: I want to ask if you got any kind of a ring for that, or a participation trophy.
Welch: I got a Golden Horseshoe.
Dahl: Not all of us can say that. How do you get the most out of the members of the team? How do you encourage the Democrats under you to do what they’re supposed to do, do their best?
Welch: I think every day you have to find ways to lift up each member. Every member is different. You have to find out what their strengths are and tap into their strengths and shine a light on them. I think that it’s important to not miss an opportunity to lift them up, to inspire them. to keep them engaged and empowered. And when you do that, you find people really passionate about being a part of the process. And I think we saw that in 2021. We’re going to continue to build on that in 2022. I think energy bill was a perfect example of that. I think the budget was a perfect example of that. The redistricting process was a perfect example of that. You get so much done when you’re working together and inspiring each and every one of our members to step up and be a part of the process.
Please pardon all transcription errors.