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Steve Balich Conservative Activist


State Rep. Anne Stava-Murray, D-Naperville, and state Rep. Will Davis, D-Hazel Crest, talk about voting for speaker of the House

Two Illinois legislative chambers select same leaders

The new Illinois General Assembly is open for lawmaking and both chambers will have the same leaders as they’ve had for years.

The leader in one chamber, though, is two years into a rules-imposed 10-year term limit. In the other chamber, there’s no limit for the longest-serving state legislative leader in the nation.

At a swearing-in ceremony at the University of Illinois Springfield campus, the 101st edition of the Illinois House took the oath of office. Members also selected the next speaker.

The choice state representatives had was either Democrat Michael Madigan or Republican Jim Durkin. Madigan won a record 18th term as House Speaker, getting 72 votes. Durkin got 44 votes. 

While all the Republicans in the new House voted for Durkin, freshman state Rep. Anne Stava-Murray, D-Naperville, was the only Democrat who voted present, meaning she didn’t support Madigan.

State Rep. Will Davis, D-Hazel Crest, said Stava-Murray should find ways to work with her colleagues.

“Don’t work to try to alienate yourself,” Davis said. “There are still things that you want to get done and you need 60 members in the House and 30 members in the Senate.”

Democrats have 74 members in the House, the most Democrats since the legislature was downsized decades ago.

Stava-Murray said she’s on the Democratic team, but that doesn’t mean staying silent when the leader isn’t doing enough to address harassment and intimidation at the statehouse.

“I think dissent is patriotic,” Stava-Murray said. “It makes us stronger to be able to say ‘that’s OK, I respect a difference of opinions. To me, only dictators get 100 percent of the vote.”