Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR1046
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Full Text of HR1046  102nd General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, There are few members in the history of the
3Illinois General Assembly who have had as great an impact on
4the lives of millions of Illinois residents as House Majority
5Leader Greg Harris; and
6    WHEREAS, While serving the residents of the 13th District
7over the course of the last 16 years in the Illinois General
8Assembly, Leader Harris has established a reputation as a
9respected and esteemed legislator, a trusted and honest
10negotiator, and a master policy expert who combines humility
11and civility with an unparalleled work ethic to achieve
12historic legislative initiatives; and
13    WHEREAS, Originally from Colorado, Leader Harris attended
14the University of Colorado at Boulder, earning a degree in
15journalism, and, after moving to Chicago, began his career in
16marketing and governmental relations at the National Home
17Furnishings Association; and
18    WHEREAS, While the association left Chicago in 1988,
19Leader Harris stayed and co-founded Open Hands Chicago, an
20in-home meal delivery program targeting people living with HIV
21and AIDS, serving 41,476 meals in its first year of operation
22in 1989 and 750,000 meals by the end of 1994; and



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1    WHEREAS, Following his community involvement, Leader
2Harris served as the chief of staff to former 48th Ward
3Alderwoman Mary Ann Smith for 14 years, establishing strong
4relationships across the city and with social service agencies
5and managing various political campaigns in the city; and
6    WHEREAS, Upon his election to the Illinois House of
7Representatives in 2006, Leader Harris became the first openly
8gay man to succeed another openly gay man, the late
9Representative Larry McKeon, in the State legislature; and
10    WHEREAS, Leader Harris has taken his personal experiences
11as an openly gay man, an activist during the AIDS crisis, and a
12person living openly with HIV to fuel his policy agenda and
13raise the profile of human services issues, and while chairing
14the House Human Services and Appropriations-Human Services
15committees, he ensured that government worked to expand and
16enhance supports and services for those who need it the most;
18    WHEREAS, Leader Harris spearheaded marriage equality,
19advancing the issue for numerous terms until passing a bill
20was possible, spending a year folding roll calls in his jacket
21pocket to track his progress gathering support for the
22measure, and ultimately enshrining same-sex marriage in



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1Illinois; and
2    WHEREAS, When many of the human service providers with
3whom Leader Harris worked faced a crisis as a result of a
4protracted budget impasse, he assumed the role of lead budget
5negotiator for the House Democratic Caucus, ultimately helping
6to forge the bipartisan compromise that balanced the budget,
7restored funding for lifesaving services, and set Illinois
8back on the path to fiscal responsibility; and
9    WHEREAS, Leader Harris was elevated to Majority Leader in
102019, making history as the first openly gay legislative
11leader in the Illinois General Assembly, and during a landmark
12legislative session under his leadership, $45 billion was
13allocated toward rebuilding crumbling roads and bridges,
14draconian marijuana prohibition was ended, the minimum wage
15for Illinois working people was raised, and the right to
16choose was enshrined in law; and
17    WHEREAS, Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Leader Harris
18championed efforts to secure the medical care and vaccines all
19Illinoisans needed, while remaining a leading voice for
20extending financial relief to struggling small businesses; and
21    WHEREAS, Leader Harris maintains a wide variety of
22interests outside the General Assembly, including an abiding



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1appreciation of bacon, watching little-seen science fiction
2movies, maintaining a unique collection of socks, raising
3awareness of days of recognition and celebration on social
4media, and acting as a human companion to Tip the Cat; and
5    WHEREAS, Leader Harris, who leaves the Illinois General
6Assembly with a void that will be impossible for a single
7individual to fill, is a well-known advocate for equality and
8fairness throughout the state, a treasured figure in his
9community and the City of Chicago, a respected colleague to
10members of the General Assembly on both sides of the aisle, a
11compassionate leader who embodies the spirit of public
12service, a voice for those who are often voiceless, and a
13dedicated and dear friend to many, and he leaves a legacy
14worthy of enduring remembrance; and
15    WHEREAS, In his community and throughout Illinois, the
16lives of those whom he has befriended and represented and for
17whom he has been an advocate are fundamentally richer because
18of Leader Harris' compassion, his tireless work, and his
19everyday efforts to inspire joy in those around him;
20therefore, be it
23we offer our profound thanks to House Majority Leader Greg



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1Harris for his 16 years of dedicated service to the people of
2Illinois and congratulate him on his retirement from the
3Illinois House of Representatives; and be it further
4    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
5presented to Leader Harris as an expression of our gratitude,
6respect, and best wishes.