The Chris Welch coming-out party had its latest event this week when the new speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives laid out his views on a host of issues he faces at a most difficult time for the state of Illinois.

From COVID-19 to the state’s brutal fiscal distress to equity and education issues, Welch touched on each of them. In a 20-minute speech, followed by 40 minutes of Q&A, Welch also talked about his legislative agenda for the spring session: ethics reform, the state budget, passage of the health care portion of the Legislative Black Caucus agenda and more.

One comment in particular stood out because, with it, the new speaker laid down a marker on an issue that has ramifications across state government: fixing the state’s badly gerrymandered electoral maps.

Welch’s comment — stating that he will view any proposed map based on its impact on equitable representation — is important because it is the first by a major player in the mapmaking process to specifically state a nonnegotiable demand.

Read more at the

David Greising

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...