Madigan and Cullerton retain leadership positions after lawmakers sworn in for 99th GA

C1.JohnCullertonFloor4x3SPRINGFIELD (AP) — House Speaker Michael Madigan is stressing the importance of bipartisanship as Illinois enters its first  divided government in more than a decade.

Madigan was again selected House speaker by the 99th General Assembly in a vote along party lines Wednesday. The Chicago Democrat is the country’s longest serving House speaker. He’s served all but two years in the role since 1983.

Madigan pledged to “work professionally and cooperatively” with GOP Gov. Rauner in a speech

following the vote. Madigan says the biggest issue ahead is the state’s budget and that both sides must work together in dealing with an expected $5.7 billion deficit next year.

He also called for creating a bipartisan mental health task force to prevent tragedies like the Sandy Hook school shooting from happening in Illinois.

Senate President John Cullerton says he wants to work with Rauner to provide better funding for schools, raise the minimum wage and make it easier to open a new business in Illinois.

Cullerton is a Chicago Democrat who was elected Wednesday to a fourth term as leader of the Illinois Senate.

Cullerton says opening a new business in Illinois is too cumbersome. He says he wants to work with Rauner to create a “one-stop shop” for new companies.

Cullerton also says he looks forward to working with Rauner and lawmakers in both parties to address Illinois’ many “tough challenges.”