ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Illinois House Democrats elected Representative Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch as Speaker of the House.

This brings Speaker Michael Madigan’s record run as the longest tenured state legislative leader in American history to an end.

Madigan congratulated Welch in a closed door caucus meeting after Welch won 69 of 73 available votes. the members gave Madigan a standing ovation. His spokesman said he plans to swear the oath of office and remain in his seat as a state representative.

As I prepare to pass the Speaker’s gavel to a new generation of Democratic leadership, I want to thank the people of my district and the members of the House Democratic Caucus for the faith and trust they have placed in me over the years. I want to thank my staff for their hard work on behalf of every member of this caucus. it has been the honor of a lifetime to help bring people of different experiences and backgrounds together to serve our state.

It is time for new leadership in the House. I wish all the best for Speaker-elect Welch as he begins a historic speakership. it is my sincere hope today that the caucus I leave to him and to all who will serve alongside him is stronger than when I begun. And as I look at the large and diverse Democratic majority we have built–full of young leaders ready to continue moving our state forward, strong women and people of color, and members representing all parts of our state–I am confident Illinois remains in good hands.

Speaker Michael Madigan