Press Release

SPRINGFIELD – The following statement can be attributed to IEA President Kathi Griffin:

“The Illinois Education Association would like to congratulate one of the top public education advocates in the Illinois General Assembly, and the 2018 recipient of the IEA Friend of Education Award, on his election as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-Hillside), has consistently distinguished himself, specifically when he served as past chair of the House Higher Education Committee and as a member of the Elementary and Secondary Education Appropriations Committee. Representative Welch believes in local control of schools. He was the chief sponsor of legislation that would empower local school boards to create charter schools, rather than having the state charter school commission dictate that decision. He opposes measures that would divert public money to private schools and supports providing schools and education employees with what they need in order to deliver a high-quality education to all students. I was able to work with him, personally, when he co-chaired Gov. JB Pritzker’s Educational Success Transition Committee with me, Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and Chicago Public Schools Supt. Janice Jackson. We look forward to working with him in his new role and know he’ll do a great job! Speaker Welch’s commitment to education predates his time in the legislature. He served for years on the Proviso Township High School District 209 Board of Education and led efforts to create Illinois’ first suburban-based magnet high school, the Proviso Math and Science Academy.”


The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest union. IEA represents Pre K-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.