Rep. Greg Harris honored by Cook County Board for trailblazing career

Thu. June 16, 2022 2:40 PM by Gerald Farinas

greg harris is the house majority leader of illinois

photo credit // cook county board of commissioners

First openly LGBTQ person to serve as Illinois House Majority Leader

Illinois state Rep. Greg Harris (13th) was honored by the Cook County Board of Commissioners by declaring June 5 of each year as Greg Harris Day. The measure honors the longtime lawmaker for accomplishing several firsts in state history.

Harris is the first openly gay, openly HIV-positive lawmaker to lead the front bench of his party in the Illinois General Assembly as majority leader. He was responsible for bringing legislation to a vote on the House floor and with his legislative whips, deliver enough votes to pass laws.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said, "Greg Harris has dedicated his career to advocating for marriage equality, trans issues, protecting people with disabilities, affordable, accessible healthcare, mental health and substance abuse issues, nursing home equality, addressing the needs of Illinois' homeless and at-risk youth, and comprehensive breast cancer services."

Harris is known on social media for mentioning each day what special holiday is being commemorated or observed (i.e., December 30 is one of several days recognized as National Bacon Day). 

Giving Harris his own name day has left some fans giggling.

Preckwinkle noted that, "Leader Harris commited his whole self to servinbg as the lead sponsor and passing the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act which secured marriage equality in Illinois."

"In 2019, Leader Harris was named House Majority Leader become the first LGBTQ person to serve in Illinois legislative leadership."

The resolution to commemorate Harris' accomplishments and legacy as he retires from office was penned by Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison, who is openly gay.

"He's been a role model, a mentor, and a friend," Morrison said. "He has fough so hard over the years for marginalized people to gain access to basic rights: to have healthcare, to access social services, to marry."

"Illinois is better because of you, Leader Harris," Morrison punctuated.

June 5 is Harris' birthday.