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Representative Greg Harris Named First Openly Gay State House Majority Leader

In a move that continues the push for inclusion and equal representation in the Illinois State House of Representatives in Springfield, House Speaker Mike Madigan named State Rep. Greg Harris as the House Majority Leader on Thursday. He will be the first openly Gay individual to hold the position.

Rep. Harris, Whose district includes parts of Andersonville and the 48th Ward, has served in the Illinois General Assembly since first being elected in 2006. In that time he has become a powerful force in Springfield and is the Chairman of the Appropriation–Human Services Committee. He also is a member of several important groups including the Executive, Insurance and Aging Committees.

Through his years in politics, Rep. Harris has been an advocate for minorities and youth by serving as chairman on the Violence Prevention Task Force, member of the Racial and Ethnic Impact Research Task Force, and the House Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment.

“I consider it to be really sort of amazing that again a ceiling has been broken,” Rep. Harris said in a Sun Times article. “And if you look at our caucus right now, there is a tremendous amount of diversity. As somebody who grew up in the time that I grew up when you’d never even talked about it. There wasn’t even a word for gay. There were a lot of other words out there. Just getting elected to office and getting this position is an amazing feeling.”

Rep. Harris has pledged to continue his work with many vulnerable members in our society including the LGBT community, at-risk and homeless youth, those effected by mental health and substance abuse issues, people with disabilities, and nursing home quality. He also vows to work with the governor and Republicans to help correct the state’s fiscal issues.

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