OK, so new Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch still is in the early days of his first big turn on the public stage.

He told the Economic Club of Chicago last week that Gov. J.B. Pritzker should try a do-over on the graduated income tax — and then, in a forum the very next day, said he was just “spitballing” those remarks.

Yet even as he clawed back his initial statement, he went off script again. Asked if he would consider an amendment to the state constitution that prohibits any cut to pension benefits, Welch said, “Let’s have a conversation about it.”

Here is what we are seeing in real time: A thoughtful, independent-minded new statehouse leader doing what comes naturally to the rest of us. Welch is thinking creatively, talking relatively freely and trying to remain open to any reasonable option that might help the state of Illinois.

Read more at the chicagotribune.com

David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative journalism and policy advocacy.

Greising’s career started at the City News Bureau of Chicago, with stops at the Chicago Sun-Times, Business Week magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Reuters. He was a co-founder of the Chicago News Cooperative and worked briefly as a consultant to World Business Chicago. Today, Greising writes on government issues in regular columns for the Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business.

Under Greising’s leadership, the BGA has played a key role in uncovering public corruption amidst the wide-ranging federal probe, starting with an in-depth report about Ald. Ed Burke’s conflicts of interest before the federal charges against Burke. The BGA also has exposed waste and fraud at O’Hare and the proliferation of corruption and poverty into Dolton, Lyons and other Chicago suburbs. The BGA’s policy team has led calls for ethics reform in Chicago’s City Council and in state government.