Following in the footsteps of the unions, Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch allocated $560,000 to try to oust Representative Mary Flowers.

Following in the footsteps of the unions, Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch allocated $560,000 to try to oust Representative Mary Flowers.

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Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch is leading an effort to direct more than $560,000 to oust Democratic Chicago state Rep. Mary Flowers — the longest-serving African-American lawmaker in the Illinois General Assembly, whose leadership was stripped last year due to… Allegations of human rights violations. behavior.

This behavior included an accusation that she told a House staffer last year that he looked like Adolf Hitler.

Unions have already contributed more than $500,000 to support Flowers' opponent, Michael Crawford, in the 31st District, which stretches from the city's Auburn Gresham neighborhood to Hickory Hills.

But now Welch and fellow House Democratic leaders are publicly backing Crawford with a massive $560,500 contribution, according to Takuya McConico, executive director of Illinois House Democrats. Welch himself contributed $68,500 to Crawford from his campaign fund.

Crawford is the Chicago School's campus dean and previously served at the City Colleges of Chicago.

“The Leader’s decision to support Michael Crawford comes after long consideration of the future of our caucus,” McConico said in a statement Tuesday. “We are working to build a better Illinois for everyone. We have to do it with people who can come to the table, work collaboratively, and do the work that makes a difference.

Flowers, who has been in office since 1985, was stripped of her position as deputy majority leader and barred from attending House Democratic caucus meetings last year amid complaints from colleagues that she was disrespectful and engaged in what Welch himself described as “abusive behavior.”

He detailed this behavior in a May 9, 2023, letter to Flowers, obtained by Capitol Fax, in which he accused the Democrat of using “a slur intended to divide people — including members of our caucus — based on their national origin.”

“At the same meeting, you compared a staffer’s appearance to Adolf Hitler. You refused to offer a sincere apology to the caucus for any comment when asked,” Welsh wrote. “This was not the first time she had made disparaging comments toward colleagues and staff.”

On Tuesday, Flowers told the Sun-Times she believed the Speaker was looking for a reason to oust her as leader — and said she had been working “quietly” with staff in the Speaker's office who had complaints and were in the early stages of the problem. The union is trying. Flowers said she told Welsh she helped prevent employees from walking out.

“I'm 72 years old, and everyone on that floor came after I did that. They all found me on the floor, speaking and expressing and fighting and standing up for what I believe in and what I believe in and my constituents,” Flowers said. “I'm not there to serve as a lobbyist. “I was never there to serve Speaker (Mike) Madigan and I’m not there to serve this man.”

As for Hitler's comment, Flowers said she told the employee, whom she had known for 25 years, that his mustache gave him the “look” of Hitler. She said the employee laughed at her comment.

Flowers has $180,012.50 in cash, according to campaign finance records. With the contribution from House Democrats, Crawford will receive more than $1.12 million in the final weeks of his campaign.

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Candidate questionnaire to help you evaluate your choices in the Illinois primary on March 19, 2024.

Michael Crawford is running for the Illinois House District 31 in the 2024 Illinois primary.

Candidate questionnaire to help you evaluate your choices in the Illinois primary on March 19, 2024.

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