UPDATED 7:23 PM – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 1/10/2021
WOMEN’S GROUPS AND GRASSROOTS GROUPS URGE VOTE FOR FEMALE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE IN ILLINOIS ILLINOIS DEMOCRATIC WOMEN, ILLINOIS NOW, INDIVISIBLE ILLINOIS, INDIVISIBLE OAK PARK, WE WILL, SHE VOTES ILLINOIS, CHICAGO NOW, PEORIA NOW, VOTE MAMA, WOMEN’S MARCH CHICAGO, ILLINOIS HANDMAIDS, FRIENDS WHO MARCH, DEMOCRATIC WOMEN OF MCDONOUGH COUNTY, RESISTOR SISTERHOOD, NORTH/NORTHWEST NOW, LAKE COUNTY DEMOCRATIC WOMEN AND MCHENRY COUNTY NOW
We are writing today to strongly encourage the House Democratic Caucus to choose a woman as their new leader when they convene to vote for the Speaker of the House of the 102nd General Assembly. As statewide women’s organizations, we’ve watched with pride and gratification as the declared candidates to the current Speaker, Michael Madigan, have all come from the House Democratic Women’s Caucus, which in the past several years has taken the lead on legislation important to us such as the Clean Energy Jobs Act, Equal Rights Amendment Ratification, and Reproductive Health Act, as well as initiatives on minimum wage, education, and mental health.
While we appreciate the leadership the current Speaker has provided, we believe it is time for a change, and choosing a strong female leader is the change that is needed. We’ve also watched with some concern
arguments that are being made that Speaker Madigan is the only one running who can hold the caucus together, pass important legislation, and help re-elect his members. This suggests that the female candidates
that have announced do not share these same qualities. We do not believe that to be true. Further, we find that sexist school of thought to be one that has permeated the legislature in Springfield for decades. Changing that culture is another reason why it is important that a woman should be chosen to lead.
All the female candidates that have declared their intention to run for Speaker of the House have done so in an environment that has been hostile to a change in leadership; this alone gives credence to their courage and fortitude. Illinois is on the precipice of a great transition as we work to come out of a global pandemic and restore jobs to working families and revive an economy that has been ravaged by Covid-19. We recognize strong leadership is needed to meet these challenges and many pressing issues, especially the much-needed criminal justice reform being championed by the House Black Caucus and the continued vigilance needed to protect women’s reproductive rights. We believe that all the women who have announced their candidacy are up to this challenge and strongly urge the House Democratic caucus to elect one of them as their new Speaker.