Speaker Welch Congratulates Majority Leader Greg Harris on a Successful Legislative Career

Speaker Welch Congratulates Majority Leader Greg Harris on a Successful Legislative Career
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Speaker Welch Congratulates Majority Leader Greg Harris on a Successful Legislative Career (Springfield, IL) — House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch applauded the dedicated service of Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-Chicago) who announced he will not be seeking reelection after 16 years in the legislature.
“Greg Harris embodies public service and throughout his fifteen year career, he has been a passionate advocate for what’s fair and just,” said Speaker Welch. “His command of a wide range of public policy issues, particularly Medicaid and our state budget, has been such a vital asset to the entire state. Greg led the way to deliver marriage equality, protected social service programs during the budget impasse and helped lower medical costs for everyday families. As a values-oriented leader and as the first openly gay majority leader, Greg has given a voice to so many who have continuously felt left out of state government.”
Harris is leaving office with a litany of legislative achievements to his name. Harris was the chief sponsor of the law that delivered marriage equality throughout Illinois. Following this, Harris became the first LGBTQ person in Illinois history to be in legislative leadership. Additionally, Harris successfully protected funding for critical human services programs when they were on the chopping block during the Rauner budget impasse. Early in his tenure, Harris successfully spearheaded legislation reducing economic disparities in mammograms and breast cancer treatment. He is also credited with numerous laws cutting red tape in Illinois’ health care system and lowering the costs of prescription drugs.
“When I stepped into this office 15 years ago, I was committed to making change,” said Leader Harris. I wanted to improve the lives of LGBTQ folks, support our immigrant community, increase the diversity of our caucus and fight for those who for so long have been ignored. As I look back at my time in Springfield, I can confidently say that I was fortunate to do that and more. Therefore, while I will finish the rest of my term and continue leading our caucus through the annual budget process, I will not be seeking re-election.”
 Other major bills Leader Harris has sponsored include:
  • Legislation providing that Transgender Illinoisans can correct their birth certificates;
  • Legislation preventing consumer reporting agencies from imposing a fee for credit freezes;
  • Legislation reforming anti-consumer practices in prescription drug pricing.
“As a proud member of the Democratic Caucus, I can say we stood together and worked toward change over the course of eight General Assemblies, four Governors, two recessions and a global pandemic. I am proud to have worked with dedicated colleagues, staff and activists. I am immensely proud to have served with Speaker Welch, our state’s first African-American Speaker. And finally, I’m most proud to have served my district and demonstrated that good government matters—that, with thoughtful policy, we can improve lives and make a more just society together,” said Leader Harris.
Harris will remain the majority leader for the legislative session in 2022, but decided to make this announcement at this time so so people considering running for office have time to think and prepare. He believes there is a young, diverse group of leaders who are ready to step into this opportunity to continue moving Illinois forward.

“I am grateful for Leader Harris’s support as I’ve navigated my first year as Speaker. I look forward to his continued guidance throughout the 102nd General Assembly, but I will forever be blessed to call him a friend,” said Speaker Welch.

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Speaker Welch Congratulates Majority Leader Greg Harris on a Successful Legislative Career

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