SPRINGFIELD — Greg Harris, an out gay state representative, has just been named as House Majority Leader by Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.
Harris, 62, is the first out House Majority Leader in Illinois history, capping off a string of first for LGBTQ people in politics in the state, including the first gay county commissioner, first gay county sheriff and first gay African-American state representative.
“In 1997, I asked Barbara Flynn Currie to serve as the state’s first female majority leader,” Madigan said in a statement from the state Democratic Party. “Following in her historic tenure, today’s appointment again represents House Democrats’ commitment to building an inclusive, welcoming Legislature where all are represented. As the first openly gay majority leader, Representative Harris will also continue to reflect our caucus’ commitment to working across the aisle and making the tough decisions.”
Equality Illinois (EI) celebrated the news in a press release Thrusday afternoon.
“We know Leader Harris as a true champion of advancing justice and equality for LGBTQ people and all historically marginalized communities,” said EI CEO Brian Johnson. “We look forward to working with him in this significant leadership role to continue advancing justice in Illinois.”
Harris represents the Edgewater area on Chicago’s North Side.
We have reached out to Harris for a reaction to his appointment. We’ll update as soon as we hear back.