SPRINGFIELD - As the 98th General Assembly was sworn into office Wednesday in Springfield, several familiar faces were missing from senators swearing in. An equal number of new members prepared to work for the next two years within the bounds of a 40 Democrats/ 19 Republicans setting.
The 40-Democrat majority is the largest in Illinois' history, Senate President John Cullerton noted at Wednesday's inauguration proceedings.
New faces that joined the Senate Wednesday include 10 Democrats: Daniel Biss, Melinda Bush, Thomas Cullerton, Bill Cunningham, Napolean Harris, Michael Hastings, Andy Manar, Julie Morrison, Steve Stadelman and Patricia Van Pelt. Biss and Cunningham served in the Illinois House before being elected as senators in 2012.
And among this session's 19 Senate Republicans, the five new caucus members are Jason Barickman, Michael Connelly, Karen McConnaughay, Jim Oberweis and Chapin Rose. Barickman, Connelly and Rose all previously served in the Illinois House.
Six Democratic veteran senators did not swear in with the 98th Session Wednesday: Annazette Collins, Maggie Crotty, Susan Garrett, Ed Maloney, Rev. James Meeks and Jeffrey Schoenberg. Neither did ten Republican senators return: Larry Bomke, Shane Cultra, Christine Johnson, Tom Johnson, John O. Jones, Chris Lauzen, John Millner, Carole Pankau, Ron Sandack and Suzi Schmidt. Sandack moved to the Illinois House following redistricting changes.