Williams, who ironically got her start in government working as legislative director for then Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Speaker Madigan’s daughter, pledged to lead her party’s caucus “collaboratively—with integrity, open communication, and respect for the voices of all Illinoisans.”
Williams, 52, was first elected in 2010 and depicts herself as a political independent. Currently chair of the House Environment & Energy Committee, she has been associated with social issues, such as opening adoption records, more than political reform but is sponsoring legislation to allow the House to meet remotely amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a measure Speaker Madigan has not supported.
“Throughout my career, I have been mentored by many trailblazing women,” Williams said in her statement. “Today, they are lifting me up as I put in my name to become the first woman speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. I am ready to lead.”
Before working for Lisa Madigan, Williams worked for Mike Madigan as a House staff attorney. She’s a graduate of Duke University Law School with an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Iowa; she lives in the North Center neighborhood.
Besides Williams and Madigan, one other Democrat has announced, Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Aurora. But Kifowit appears to have picked up little support so far. Williams may have more potential but notably did not appear before the House’s Black and Latino caucuses before they endorsed Madigan for a new term.
A fourth Democrat, Rep. Kathleen Willis of Addison, also according to some sources has been calling around to gauge her prospects, but she has not confirmed that.
House Democrats are due to meet Jan. 8 and may vote then on a speaker. So far, 19 Democrats (including Williams and Kifowit) have said they will not vote for Madigan again, enough to deny him the job but not enough to be elected themselves.
via Crain’s Chicago Business
January 6, 2021 at 08:59PM