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Illinois 7th House District Rep. has a Clear Ticket Back to Springfield

State Representative Emanuel Welch, Photo Credit: Welch Campaign Website

During the heated debates in the Illinois General Assembly, about the marriage equality bill, there were several speeches given in favor of the law. But for many spectators there was one that stood out the most.

Randy Hannig, director of public policy at Equality Illinois, said he distinctly remembers State Rep. Emanuel Welch (D-Westchester).

“He by far gave one of the most impassioned and impressive speeches of the day,” Hannig said.

He said Equality Illinois was nervous when Welch first came into office.

“The representative who preceded him, Karen Yarbrough, was always a champion for LGBT equality,” Hannig said, referring to the gay community. “Wereally didn’t know what to expect after Rep. Yarbrough moved up to Cook County Recorder of Deeds.”

But Hannig said the organization was pleasantly surprised when they began working with Welch.

Welch is now an unopposed incumbent in the March 18 Democratic primary and the November general election. Hannig said Welch has the full backing of Equality Illinois.

“He really showed from the get-go he was a true supporter of LGBT equality,” he said. “He was out there as a supporter of the Marriage Equality Bill.”

Hannig said Welch has assured Equality Illinois he would do everything in his power to make sure the marriage equality bill was passed and became law.

He said Welch has ensured Equality Illinois he will continue to make LGBT equality something he continues to fight for during his next term in office.

“That is the type of representative we look forward to working with,” he said.

Though Welch is a freshman Representative, he was able to have several bills he sponsored and cosponsored become law.

Two of the bills Welch backed are a Senate bill that takes advantage of federal funding and provides low-income and high-needs people with health care, and a House bill which gives people who help prosecute gang related crimes extra protection.

Those who have worked closely with Welch over the past two years say his passion for change and equality is why they will continue to support him in his next term.

Outside of supporting marriage equality, Welch has also focused on women’s rights to reproductive healthcare and sexual education in the school system.

Terry Cosgrove, president and CEO of Personal PAC, said Welch has always been 100 percent pro-choice. Personal PAC has both endorsed Welch and contributed $1000 to his campaign.

“He supports access for reproductive health for all women,” Cosgrove said. “And he has consistently stood up for those issues in the Illinois House of Representatives.”

Cosgrove said Welch has indicated his full support for women’s reproductive health care during his next term in office as well.

Pam Sutherland, vice president of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, said her organization has endorsed Welch, because he supports its policies and programs.

“Representative Welch was a strong supporter this last year in helping us pass comprehensive sex education in schools,” Sutherland said. “He never questioned the reason why we need it, he was just there, he understood it.”

Though he is nearing the end of this term, Welch has continued to present bills and accept appointments to task force, such as the House Heroin Task Force he began working with on March 3.

He’s also still a strong supporter of healthcare and hosted an Affordable Care Act forum on March 8 in Maywood.

During this forum, Welch had navigators from the state come in and explain the act, and people were able to sign up for a health care plan.

Welch has received approximately $412,000 in campaign funds to date, and has spent almost $424,000 according to the State Board of Elections. Some of his largest contributors are doctors and medical institutions, such as Kurtz Paramedic Services which contributed $1,000 and Vanguard Health Mgt., IL PAC which donated $5,000.

Welch has been a partner at Sanchez, Daniels & Hoffman, law firm since July 2007. He is married, and has recently become a father for the second time.

After several attempts to reach Welch, he was unavailable for an interview.


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