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Welch to Republicans: Abandon extremism if you want a seat at the table

Monday, Nov 21, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Some recent news stories have centered on Republican hopes for “balance” in the new General Assembly. House Speaker Chris Welch talked to WGN TV about the topic

Q: Republicans say they’re not listened to, they’re not heard. So, as you move forward, is it, well, to the victor go the spoils, so be it? Or is there a way you want to involve Republicans towards unity? What areas can you collaborate with them on?

Welch: As I’ve always said, I think it’s extremely important that we work in a bipartisan way. We need to try to govern in the middle and I certainly hope that Republicans have learned the message of this election, and that is that the electorate won’t tolerate extremism. And if they’ve learned that lesson, we’re ready to do the work with them. We’re ready to sit down at the table and listen to everyone. We have to continue to move the state forward and I think you do it best when you’re working together and willing to compromise. What we have to bring back to politics and government is civility, respect, and the ability to compromise. And that’s where extremism has no place.

Q: Lots of change in the Republican Party, both leaders out for the House and the Senate. In come Rep. Tony McCombie [and Sen. John Curran] are in. Do you have relationships with them? How well do you know them?

Welch: I’ve served with both of them the last few years. I think they’re both honorable people. I think they’re going to be great leaders for their respective caucuses. And I certainly, again, hope that they try to move toward the center a little bit. They’re not gonna get much done if they operate on the extreme. They will have a place at the table if they’re willing to come and work toward compromise.

Q: So, work on the Democrats’ agenda and they’re welcome, but if not

Welch: No, I didn’t say that. Be willing to compromise. When you’re willing to compromise - we’re not going to get everything we want, either. But you can’t be extreme, either side, Democrats or Republicans. You move so much further when you’re working together. And so that hand will always be outreached and I’m looking forward to work with [both of the new Republican leaders].



  1. - don the legend - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 1:36 pm:

    ILGOP spokesperson: Extremism is in the eye of the beholder.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 1:39 pm:

    === Q: So, work on the Democrats’ agenda and they’re welcome, but if not===

    Yeah, no… try again.

    That’s a horrible attempt to try to frame a want of an interview as opposed to asking questions to get answers.

    That’s poor work right there.

    To the post?

    Welp, if the GOP stays away from the extremes and stop the litmus test to social issues, it would behoove them to find common ground in infrastructure, education (K-12 and Higher Ed) and even DOC, DHS, DCFS… where Republicans use to be champions too towards aiding Illinois’ most vulnerable.

  3. - Juvenal - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 1:40 pm:

    Welch and everyone else on the Democratic side of the aisle would rather pass budgets with a structured, bipartisan rolecall.

    He, Harmon, and the rest of the Democrats I’m sure would welcome ten GOP votes on th next cannabis bill, or Constitutional amendment affecting abortion rights, or SAFE-T act amendment.

    They main thing the GOP could do is just stop going into tirades on every single vote. Its okay to respectfully vote No. Not every rollcall has to be a YouTube video.

    They’d be doing themselves a favor, honestly. The tirades hurt them in the general. They might help them in the primary, but only in the short term. I guarantee you there are dozens of folks to the Right of every GOP living in their district and just waiting to be recruited to run against them.

  4. - Jerry - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 1:41 pm:

    Republicans also supported Unions as well.

  5. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 1:47 pm:

    Q: So, work on the Democrats’ agenda and they’re welcome, but if not…

    Objection…trying to lead the interviewee…astray.

  6. - Huh? - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 1:52 pm:

    “Republicans also supported Unions as well.”

    Um, kinda like what ruiner did …

  7. - clec dcn - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 1:52 pm:

    I don’t see the extremism both sides guilty of that for sure. As mentioned it is relative to whole is saying what extremism happens to be. The GOP has little they can do except keep at things they find that are important to all.

  8. - vern - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 1:53 pm:

    We’re at the stage where Democratic leaders are begging Republicans to try winning elections. I wonder if Republicans in red states make the same ask of their superminority Democratic caucuses.

  9. - AlfondoGonz - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 2:02 pm:

    This state could use a responsible Republican Party to balance out the more harebrained ideas of the far left.

    I don’t see any reason to believe their ILGOP intends to reign in their crazies and legislate like adults.

  10. - Lefty Lefty - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 2:15 pm:

    I’m curious Alfondo - what are examples of “harebrained ideas of the far left”? Is it any of these?

    - address climate change
    - pay livable wages
    - support privacy rights
    - protect the environment
    - prosecute insurrectionists
    - support voting rights

  11. - Steve Polite - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 2:34 pm:

    “Um, kinda like what ruiner did …”

    With all due respect, you have to use the way back machine. When I was voting republican, Ray Poe (R) was my state representative. He supported labor, as did many state republicans at the time, and iirc, was usually endorsed by AFSCME.

  12. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 2:37 pm:

    === He supported labor===

    Yep, and was then moved to an agency so he didn’t have to follow the Rauner playbook.

  13. - Dirksen - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 2:37 pm:

    The governor pumped in $30m to support darren Bailey during the GOP primary. Does the same go for him?

  14. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 2:39 pm:

    === Yep, and was then moved to an agency so he didn’t have to follow the Rauner playbook.===

    Institutional knowledge to how far the GOP has drifted must include Rauner and the union friendly GOP being taken out of the GA, by any means, including “moving up and out”

  15. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 2:40 pm:

    === The governor pumped in $30m to support darren Bailey===

    56+% voted for Darren Bailey, is your beef with the majority of the GOP voters too, lol

  16. - AlfondoGonz - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 2:43 pm:


    No, those are all good ideas.

  17. - Guy - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 2:44 pm:

    Jim Durkin is the antithesis of “extreme,” and Welch and Pritzker left him out on the street eating scraps.

  18. - Moe Berg - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 3:04 pm:

    In Feb. 2022, Leader-elect McCombie threw a fit on the House floor about being required to wear a mask.

    Eventually, they just let her sit there like a child working through a tantrum, even though a handful of other GOP members willingly left the floor and participated remotely.

    “Mind your own business, mitigate your own risk,” McCombie said.

    That incident was very telling in terms of her character, temperament and likelihood the House Republican Caucus is going to be looking to find common ground and work in a constructive fashion.

    When you are unwilling to follow a just and reasonable rule (that was put in place to protect the health of other people), at best a trivial inconvenience, what hope is there for her ability to tackle bigger issues in a bipartisan way?

  19. - notafraid - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 3:30 pm:

    A lot of nicey, nicey talk from Welch. But he needs to be more specific. What issues do you ‘compromise’ on and why? What issues does he think that the GOP is advocating an extreme position?

  20. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 3:47 pm:

    - Moe Berg -

    Important context. Appreciate that.

  21. - John Lopez - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 3:49 pm:

    === Q: So, work on the Democrats’ agenda and they’re welcome, but if not ===

    What Speaker Welch should have said: Republicans need to remember their place. The voters of Illinois have rejected the extremism their candidates for governor all the way to the presidency campaign on consistently for the last 10 years. Their numbers in the Illinois General Assembly betray the truth of their standing among Illinois voters, and only 8 Republicans represent the Chicago suburbs going into the next session.

    Republicans need to get their minds right, and support points of the people’s agenda, including means to fund them, and stop being afraid of people who may compare them to a rhinoceros in the next Republican primary.

  22. - vern - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 4:09 pm:

    === Welch and Pritzker left him out on the street eating scraps===

    Welch asked for his help ameliorating death threats against House members. Durkin demanded legislative concessions in return. If Durkin was the “antithesis of extreme,” that would’ve been a great time to demonstrate it. Instead, he tried to leverage political violence for political power.

  23. - Lefty Center Lefty - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 4:25 pm:

    Alfondo -

    I’ve updated my moniker!

  24. - Kayak - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 4:39 pm:

    Madigan suggested leaders including Rauner not operate in the extreme as well. And like then, if you come to the table extreme now, you have learned nothing. Bah bye.

  25. - TJ - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 5:28 pm:

    ILGOP: We want to split up Illinois!
    Also ILGOP: What do you mean, “our opinions on how to run Illinois aren’t welcome?”

  26. - Homebody - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 5:39 pm:

    Durkin did the Paul Ryan move. Saw the crazy writing on the wall, and just fled to save his reputation, while taking no responsibility for the growth of the extreme wing of his party.

    The “moderate” Republicans constantly either blame Democrats for their own members’ insanity, or are begging Democrats to save them from messes they made for themselves.

    I think Welch went about as far as I think any Democrat can go. Tell the ILGOP that if they want to behave like adults, they can sit at the adult table. If not, there is no reason to cater to their tantrums.

  27. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Nov 21, 22 @ 9:35 pm:

    Moe Berg with the scoreboard chant.

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