EVANSTON, IL — Evanston Democratic State Rep. Robyn Gabel was named the House majority leader for the 103rd Illinois General Assembly by House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch on Thursday.

“I’m honored to receive the great responsibility of being chosen as majority leader and I look forward to helping our entire Democratic Caucus succeed,” Gabel said in a statement.

Gabel, 69, was the only state representative among the 19 who banded together to oust longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan to be named to Welch’s leadership team two years ago.

Madigan has since been indicted by federal prosecutors on corruption and conspiracy charges that are due to go to trial next year, while Gabel has been promoted from assistant majority leader to majority leader.

“In this new role I will continue to prioritize values that are most important to me – collaboration, inclusivity, and assisting my colleagues deliver results for their communities,” Gabel said.

Gabel was first appointed as 18th District representative in 2010 after 22 years as the executive director of the nonprofit Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition. She also previously worked as a legislative aide to then Chicago Ald. Luis Gutierrez and the co-director of the Chicago Women’s Health Center. Last year, she won a seventh full term in office with more than 81 percent of the vote.

Greg Harris, the North Side state rep who was named majority leader four years ago, stepped down this week after declining to seek a ninth term in office. As Gov. J.B. Pritzker took office, former Speaker Mike Madigan picked Harris as his top deputy to succeed longtime Hyde Park State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, who Pritzker appointed to chair the Illinois Pollution Control Board.

“I want to thank Speaker Welch for entrusting me to be our caucus’ leader, as well as Leader Harris for his dedication to our state,” she added. “I look forward to the great things we’ll accomplish together in this upcoming legislative session.”

During the recently concluded legislative term, Gabel sponsored an amendment to the Health Care Right of Conscience Act, or HCRCA, that was enacted with the intention of preventing its use to circumvent mandatory COVID-19 vaccination or testing, as well as the Birth Center Licensing Act, which requires birth centers to be licensed with state regulators.

In addition to Gabel, Welch named State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) as speaker pro temp and chief budgeteer and State Reps. Mary Flowers and Elizabeth Hernandez as deputy majority leaders.

Welch named eight assistant majority leaders: State Reps. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea), Natalie Manley (D-Joliet), Kam Buckner (D-Chicago), Aaron Ortiz (D-Chicago), Barbara Hernandez (D-Aurora), Marcus Evans (D-Chicago), Bob Rita (D-Blue Island) and Kelly Burke (D-Oak Lawn.)

State Rep. Theresa Mah (D-Chicago) was named majority conference chair and State Rep. Nick Smith (D-Chicago) was named sergeant-at-arms, according to Welch’s office. The speaker also named a dozen members as caucus whips or assistant floor whips.

Earlier: New House Speaker Names Evanston State Rep To Leadership Post


via Evanston Patch

January 13, 2023 at 12:49PM