SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Veteran LGBT lawmaker, State Representative Greg Harris (D-13-Chicago), made history today after his appointment by Speaker Michael J. Madigan to be the next Illinois House Majority Leader. Harris is not only the first openly gay person to hold the important leadership position, but also the first openly HIV positive individual as well.

 

Harris, 62, has represented Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood since 2006 and was recently featured in #Boom as part of our "OUT on the Trail" series of political profiles.

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"We are excited by Speaker Michael J. Madigan's appointment today of State Representative Greg Harris to be the next Illinois House Majority Leader," said Equality Illinois, the state's oldest LGBT advocacy organization, in a statement. 

 

"We know Leader Harris as a true champion of advancing justice and equality for LGBTQ people and all historically marginalized communities," Equality Illinois continued. "We look forward to working with him in this significant leadership role to continue advancing justice in Illinois. We thank Speaker Madigan for his significant leadership in advancing LGBTQ equality in Illinois. Just yesterday, we heard in nominating speeches of the Speaker's critical role in passing marriage equality legislation in Illinois. Today, his appointment of Leader Harris further demonstrates the Speaker's commitment to LGBTQ equality and representation."

 

"Rep. Harris has shown a dedication to meeting our state’s biggest challenges head on," said Speaker Madigan. "Throughout his career, he has worked to advance progressive ideals, while also building bipartisan consensus. He led a historic effort to make Illinois one of the first states to pass legislation ensuring equal rights for same-sex couples; he has spearheaded complicated Medicaid reforms with an eye toward compassion and expanded access to health care; and his leadership was most critical during the budget crisis, when Rep. Harris was instrumental in bringing together Democrats and Republicans to enact a bipartisan budget that protects lifesaving services like breast cancer screenings, child care, health care for the elderly and much more."

 

In response to his historic appointment, Harris posted the following message to Facebook:

 

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