Willis also challenging Madigan for House speaker

SPRINGFIELD - State Reps. Kathleen Willis and Ann Williams have launched bids to replace Michael Madigan as Illinois House speaker.

They, along with state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, were scheduled to make their case before the Democratic Women's Caucus during a private virtual meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Madigan, a Chicago Democrat who has served as speaker for all but two years since 1983, has been struggling to maintain his grip on power since July, when he was implicated in a bribery scheme in which ComEd awarded no-work jobs and lobbying contracts to his associates.

Madigan has not been charged and has denied any wrongdoing, but the scandal has eroded his support within the Democratic caucus to the point where he no longer has the 60 votes needed to be reelected speaker.

Democrats will have 73 votes in the House when the 102nd General Assembly convenes Jan. 13, but so far 19 of those Democrats have said publicly that they will not support Madigan for another term.

Kifowit, 49, of Oswego, is a Marine Corps veteran who has served in the House since 2013. She chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee, which recently held hearings about the COVID-19 outbreaks at state-run veterans homes.

Willis, 58, of Addison, also has served in the House since 2013 and serves as the Democratic conference chairwoman. She was the first member of the party's leadership team to announce that she would not support Madigan for another term as speaker.

Williams, 53, is a Chicago attorney and a member of the party's liberal wing. She was reelected to her sixth term in the House. She chairs the House Energy and Environment Committee.

Ann Williams
Stephanie Kifowit
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