The incoming caucus of Senate Democrats consists of 10 individuals representing 7 universities across the state of Illinois. Newly elected Majority Leader Jillian Womack, of Southeastern Illinois College, grew up as the only liberal in a large family of conservatives, and believes that experience will help the Democrats to work with the Republicans on the Senate floor. “I have plenty of experience dealing with hillbilly Republicans,” said Womack.
Womack also knows that the Democrats hold one key advantage over the Republicans. “We are a super majority and we are capable of winning every single bill,” said Womack. “Second, we know how to use real research and not just cry about our rights.”
The caucus has two committees and each one will consider between 30 and 40 bills over the next two days. Out of all of the bills that will be considered, there are a few that Majority Leader Womack hopes will advance to the floor. “Allowing mental health days for children and K-12 education … kind of hits close to home for me. I think that’s really important to have in our school education system.”
Senate Republicans have elected a new Minority Leader to lead them this year, as well. Dejoie Simmons (UIS) was elected Senate Minority Leader, and quickly appointed Katie Vandenbergh as his Minority Whip. When asked to comment about his win, Simmons said he “[felt] very humbled… I’m ready to lead the party in the right direction.”
In the Assistant Senate Minority position, Jackson Barry (SIU) was the winner. Barry had campaigned wearing sneakers, making the solemn promise to “run for you [Republicans] all weekend long.” Barry was also appointed Minority Spokesperson for Committee 1.
The runner up for Assistant Senate Minority, Austin Bicknell (Millikin University) was not discouraged. The former Model UN attendee has written original legislation for MIG this year, and was appointed Minority Spokesperson for Committee 2.
By: Tamas Dilorenzo and Ryland Pietras
Photo by Lizzie Roehrs