SPRINGFIELD — Illinois' 101st General Assembly is now on the job, with Democrats holding big majorities in the House and Senate, and set to take the governor’s mansion next week.
About a third of the members are new, the leaders are not. In the House, Michael Madigan was once again elected speaker, and Jim Durkin was elected as Republican Leader.
"It’s déjà vu all over again," Durkin said.
In brief remarks, Madigan seemed to relish the surviving four years of fierce combat with Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.
"Four long years of character assassination. Four long of years of personal vilification," Madigan said. "For the last four years, people working with people has not happened in the State of Illinois."
Since 1983, Madigan has held the speakership all but two years. Democratic members fell in line and gave him another term, except for new Rep. Anne Stava-Murray of Downers Grove, who defied Madigan by voting "present."
"It felt great. I was smiling beforehand, and it felt so empowering to do the thing I promised people to do," Rep. Murray said after.
Governor Rauner attended the Senate searing-in along with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. John Cullerton remains President of the Senate there, with Bill Brady leading the Republicans.
More pomp is scheduled for next week when J.B. Pritzker is sworn in as governor. With complete Democratic control in Springfield, Republicans say they’ll cooperate.
"We’ve got to find a way to come together. We’re all Illinoisans. We’re all Americans," said Rep. Tom Bennet (R-Iroquois).