CHICAGO – State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, joined members of the Black Caucus, City of Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers and statewide business leaders to voice their support for Welch’s proposal to ensure greater representation of African Americans and women on corporate boards in Illinois at a press conference today.

“Corporate boards have traditionally heavily underrepresented African Americans and women,” Welch said. “This legislation will create a more inclusive and diverse environment on corporate boards and will help ensure that all voices are part of decisions being made that impact our state’s economy.”

Welch’s proposal, House Bill 3394, requires corporations based in Illinois to have at least one African American and one female member on their boards by 2020. There are already numerous Illinois-based corporations that are currently compliant with the measure’s racial and gender diversity requirements, including McDonalds, United, Boeing, John Deere and Caterpillar. Welch’s proposal calls on other corporations in Illinois to follow the example set by these businesses in prioritizing diversity in the boardroom.

“The board of the companies on which I serve already have substantial gender and ethnic diversity,” said John Rowe, Chairman Emeritus of Exelon Corporation, member of Northern Trust and Suncoke Energy boards and co-chair of the American Business Immigration Coalition. “It is simply necessary for the times. It is also right.”

Sam Scott, a member of the Motorola and Abbott Labs boards in Illinois added, “With the country becoming more diverse and corporations serving a multitude of different customers, the idea of boards being made up of different expertise and diverse thinking is extremely important for the overall corporate environment.” Scott also is co-chair of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition. 

House Bill 3394 recently passed the House and is currently awaiting further action in the Senate.

Rep Emanuel Chris WelchRep Emanuel Chris Welch

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