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Don Harmon chosen to lead state Senate
2020-01-19

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During a special session on Jan. 19, Oak Park Democrat Don Harmon was chosen as the next Illinois Senate president, The Chicago Tribune reported.

After more than a decade, John Cullerton retired from the position, making way for Harmon.

The selection came down to Harmon and Kimberly Lightford. Lightford—who is also chair of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus—would have been the first woman to lead either chamber of the General Assembly.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said in a media release, "With 17 years of experience in the upper chamber, I am confident that Don will ably serve and lead the Senate with a steady hand and hold integrity above all else. A staunch advocate for working families, Don was instrumental in shepherding the most sweeping and consequential legislative agenda through the state senate this past year."

Pritzker also congratulated Lightford, saying, "I commend Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford on a historic run and am proud of her work tackling big challenges for working families. Without Kim's leadership we could not have raised the minimum wage, lifting more than a million Illinoisans out of poverty and I know she has more important work to do as Majority Leader."

State Sen. Robert Peters ( D-Chicago ) sent a statement to Windy City Times saying, "The new leadership under President Harmon will provide a fresh opportunity to reimagine safety and justice in our community. n 2019, we passed several major criminal justice reforms, but the way I see it, that was only the beginning. There's a lot more work to be done, and I'm confident that President Harmon will be a strong ally in that fight."

In a separate statement, state Sen. Laura Fine ( D-Glenview ) said, "I am excited to see Senator Harmon take Illinois and the Senate in a new direction, and I know that his experience as a champion of many progressive causes, like health care reform and enhanced public education, will serve our state well."

The Tribune item is at ChicagoTribune.com .


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