Illinois House Speaker returns from trip to White House

Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside). (WJBC file photo)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) says it’s important for the legislature to maintain a relationship with the White House, so he was only too happy to participate Monday in a roundtable with members of the Biden administration and other Black statehouse speakers.

The speakers in Illinois, New York, Maine, Michigan, and Maryland are all Black. What’s more, the day after the White House meeting, Pennsylvania got a new speaker who is also Black, bringing the total to six.

President Biden was not there. “He sent Ambassador Susan Rice to facilitate our meeting. She was engaged,” Welch said. “We also had the director of their intergovernmental office, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, who is the granddaughter of Cesar Chavez. She is engaged with state legislatures all across the country.”

Welch and some of his counterparts wanted some assurance of help with those seeking asylum.

Monday also included a reception to celebrate Black History Month.

Dave Dahl can be reached at


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