State Rep. Ann Williams officially joined the growing list of politicians looking to become the next speaker of the Illinois House, making her the third Democrat to announce they were challenging embattled Speaker Michael Madigan on Wednesday. Madigan has served as speaker for all but two years since 1983, but has been struggling to maintain his grip on power since July, when he was implicated in a yearslong bribery scheme involving utility giant Commonwealth Edison.
The Chicago Attorney joins Representatives Stephanie Kifowit, of Oswego, and Kathleen Willis, of Addison, in the race for speaker.
Kifowit, a Marine Corps veteran, has served in the House since 2013. She currently chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee.
Willis, has also served in the House since 2013 and currently serves as the Democratic conference chairperson. She was the first member of the party’s leadership team to announce that she would not support Madigan for another term as speaker.
Democrats will have 73 votes in the House when the 102nd General Assembly convenes on Wednesday, Jan. 13, but so far 19 of those Democrats have said publicly that they will not support Madigan for another term.
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.