Democrats firmly in control in Illinois as new House, Senate members sworn in

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Illinois' 101st General Assembly was sworn in Wednesday with a lot of new faces and, for Democrats, an even tighter grip on power.

Democrats now hold a super majority in the House and the Senate, which means they don't necessarily need Republican support to push through their agenda or that supported by Governor-Elect JB Pritzker, who takes office on Monday. But the talk today is about cooperation.

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In his last official act as governor, Bruce Rauner presided over the Senate swearing-in ceremony and once again, senators elected John Cullerton their president. He blew kisses to his grandkids and family who joined him on the dais.

In the House ceremony, held at Illinois State University in Springfield, outgoing Attorney General Lisa Madigan gave her father Mike Madigan the oath of office.

"Congratulations, you're the Speaker again. Excuse us while we take a picture which we never do," Lisa Madigan said.

With the lighter moments behind them, leaders from both houses and both parties were looking ahead. With a much-needed capital construction bill and billions in unpaid bills and pension obligations looming, there is a sense of urgency to get things done.

"We have to collectively work together. I firmly believe that somewhere in the middle of what our policies are, the Republican versus the Democrat, we can have a better solution in a bipartisan fashion," Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady said.

"The people back home have no tolerance for impasses and infighting. They want us to get things done. They want us to make Illinois better," Cullerton said. "And together, that's exactly what we're going to do."

"Well, we're thrilled that we've got bipartisan support, both chambers for some bills that I think will put us in a good direction, and I'm very excited about the prospects for the state as we implement the policies that we ran on," Governor-Elect JB Pritzker said.

Former Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie was hospitalized with pneumonia and unable to attend Wednesday's swearing-in ceremony.
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