‘I’m not leaving!’ Rep stands ground after Illinois Dems vote to remove unmasked Republicans

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The Democrat-led Illinois State House voted Thursday to boot nine state GOP lawmakers from the House chamber for the offense of not masking up.

The drama began thanks to state Rep. Lakesia Collins, a Chicago Democrat who “requested in a motion that members either put on their masks or leave the chamber,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

“I am asking you to simply follow the rules of this chamber. That is it. Every minute we waste talking to you all while you are over there whining about wearing a mask, those people are still suffering and need your help,” she said, according to The Hill.

While she didn’t specify why exactly her colleagues’ mask-wearing habits were of such importance to her, it’s presumed she felt that they were the true threat to her health.

A screenshot of her may be seen below:

(Source: YouTube)

“Republican lawmakers responded by asking for a hearing or a vote to amend the masking rule, something they have been requesting all week,” according to the Tribune.

“The proper way to do this is to amend the rule. We’ve allowed a governor to come into this body and dictate to us how we do our business. This is not right,” state Rep. Steven Reick, a Republican, reportedly said, referencing Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

State Rep. Andrew Chesney, also a Republican, meanwhile responded by accusing his Democrat colleagues of hypocrisy, “alleging that they go maskless in settings outside of the House chamber, such as during functions with lobbyists.”

“Hypocrisy is no longer defined by Webster’s dictionary. Hypocrisy is known as the Democrat Party in the state of Illinois,” he said.

(Source: YouTube)

He also took a swipe at Democrats for ignoring the issues that Republicans believe truly matter.

“You say you’re fighting for those without a voice. You’re not fighting for anybody. Eight hundred people died in your city and you said nothing,” he said, citing the number of homicide victims recorded in 2021.

Listen:

The accurate observation made Collins “livid,” according to the Tribune, spurring her into blaming Republicans — particularly Republicans with so-called “privilege” — for the city’s notorious crime epidemic.

“Your privilege, your privilege to look down on people who are living in poverty, do not have access to a simple grocery store, who vote against every policy that we have presented in this [session] to uplift our communities, you voted against them,” she said.

State Rep. Blaine Wilhour, another Republican, pushed back by calling for some “sanity.”

“It’s time that we set an example that sanity — sanity is going to make a return here in the state of Illinois in Springfield. We lived under two years of tyrannical rule for one person,” he said, referring to Pritzker.

“And now we want to kick people out of here because this body, this body that we’re in right now, has not been tough enough to do their job for the last two years. We haven’t been tough enough to stand up to a governor. We haven’t been tough enough to stand up to a bureaucracy that is completely out of control.”

Collins reportedly fired back by accusing her Republican colleagues of transforming the state House’s proceedings into “a clown show.”

“This body is doing everything that we can on this side of the aisle to make sure that the people’s work is being done, while you all on that side of the aisle have been making this body, this chamber, a clown show,” she said.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, who remained masked throughout the whole ordeal, reportedly said that his colleagues had a point about the need for an official hearing.

“I think it’s a legitimate question to ask that why can’t we at least have a full hearing in front of one of our committees about mitigation efforts? We’ve been asking for it for two years. What you see over here is a growing frustration that is playing out all over the state of Illinois,” he said.

During a vote soon after, the House voted 66-39 to boot nine unmasked Republicans, including Chesney and Wilhour, from the chamber, after which Democrats summoned security guards to remove the noncomplying GOP members.

Eight of the nine complied and rejoined the hearing from Zoom a short time later. According to the Tribune, one Republican, Rep. Tony McCombie of Savanna, refused to comply, but “there’s no indication she was forced to exit the chamber.”

Below is footage showing three security guards confronting her:

“I was elected. I’m not leaving,” she told local news reporter Mark Maxwell afterward.

It’s not clear why her colleagues didn’t stay as well …

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