By Courtney Westlake
The Illinois House of Representatives gathered at UIS on Friday as each of the new members of the 96th General Assembly was sworn into the House and by a vote of 70 to 48, Rep. Michael Madigan was re-elected as the House Speaker over Rep. Tom Cross.
The House made history during the meeting as a new vote was made for the impeachment of the Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich.
The House voted 114 to 1 on Friday, January 9, to impeach the governor, who will now be tried in the Senate. The second vote was taken with the newly-elected House officials.
Madigan thanked all of his fellow representatives for electing him as Speaker and explained why it is important that each branch of the Illinois government live up to its responsibilities and serve the people of the state.
"I simply ask that all of us become very strong advocates of the role that we play in Illinois government," he said. "We have a role to play that is set on the constitution."
Rep. Cross also spoke about the responsibilities of the House and the purpose of the impeachment process.
"In the last ten years, two of our governors have caused a great stain on this state. They have violated the law, abused their power and totally disregarded their office, and it has a very real effect on all of us," Cross said. "We've been tested in an exceptionally difficult way. When we put politics aside and we recognize there are some things we have to do, we can get them done. The impeachment last week was necessary; it was necessary as a state for us to go through that, no matter how difficult it was. We had no choice."
At the end of the session, for the second vote of the House of Representatives, the vote to impeach the governor was 117 to 1.