Jessica Basham, Chief of Staff to House Speaker Michael Madigan (WICS)
House Speaker Michael Madigan’s new chief of staff is settling in after being on the job for about seven months.
Springfield native Jessica Basham is the first woman in the position.
“Number one, I think it serves as a great example for the kind of progress and the kind of challenges that can get solved when people that represent the diversity of our society are in charge making those choices,” Basham said. “I think we can serve as an example for other industries.”
Basham replaced long-time Chief of Staff Tim Mapes who resigned the same day a staffer came forward accusing him of sexual harassment.
“It was a very challenging time to come into the position,” Basham said. “Not only to come into the challenges of the office, but the challenges of the times and all the changes that have been going on. I am very proud to be in this position with the speaker.”
Since taking over as chief of staff, Basham created a human resources department, an equal employment opportunity officer has been hired and an independent counsel is now reviewing the practices in the Speaker’s Office.
All of this was done to extinguish the culture of sexual harassment under the dome.
“We have adopted new personnel policies,” Basham said. “We’ve made sure that all of our employees are very clear and know the multiple ways that they can report any kind of incident that they feel uncomfortable with.”
Basham said the speaker’s main initiatives for the spring session will be passing a balanced budget. He also would like to get a capital bill passed to fund infrastructure projects throughout the state.
Check out Basham’s full interview here:
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January 25, 2019 at 04:15PM