Illinois speaker's decadeslong grip ends as House Democrats vote in first Black leader

CHICAGO — State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch became the first Black speaker of the Illinois House Wednesday, as Democrats rejected another term for scandal-plagued Michael Madigan, ending the Southwest Side Democrat’s decadeslong reign as the undisputed power behind Illinois politics. Welch, of west suburban Hillside, got 70 votes from the 118-member chamber, where Democrats hold 73 seats, as a new General Assembly was sworn into office. His job is now to chart a new future for the chamber’s Democrats after nearly four decades of Madigan’s almost single-handed control of both the party and state…

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