- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 14, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (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.

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