Reason for Seeking Public Office:
Greg Harris was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 2006. Harris serves as Representative for the 13th District including Uptown, Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, North Center and Bowmanville. Harris also is the highest ranking openly gay elected official in the State of Illinois. He is Chairman of the Youth and Family Committee, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, and a member of the Joint Committee on the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.
Greg Harris served for 14 years as Chief of Staff for Alderman Mary Ann Smith of Chicago's 48th Ward. He co-chaired the City of Chicago's Task Force on LGBT Substance Use/Abuse and as a member of the Crystal Meth Task Force. He is a founder and first Board President of both Open Hand Chicago and of AIDS Walk Chicago. He has served as chair of Lesbians and Gays in Government, and as a member of the Public Policy and Advocacy Committee of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. He has served as a Board member of Open Hand Chicago and as a member of the Chicago Area HIV Service Planning Council, a Board Member of the Non-Profit Financial Center, the AIDS Legal Council, and as a Director of the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights.
An openly gay public official who is also openly a person with AIDS, Harris serves on the Honorary Boards of Interfaith Ministry for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Apna Ghar Domestic Violence Shelter. He was named Outstanding Young Chicagoan in 1992 by the Chicago Jaycees, and in 1997, Harris and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley shared the Human Rights Campaign "Equality" Award for their work in passing a domestic partner ordinance in Chicago. In 2000, he was awarded the Humanitarian Award by the Greater Chicago Committee for HIV/AIDS work in the African-American community. In 1998 Harris ran the North Halsted Streetscape project for Mayor Daley.
Most recently, Harris has been named Outstanding Legislator of the Year for 2009 by the Illinois Psychological Association and AARP, received the John Hammell Award by the ACLU, and received the Right Side of History Award by Tamms Year 10. Harris has also been the recipient of Equality Illinois' 2009 Freedom Award and was recognized by Test Positive Aware Network for his work in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Additionally, he has received an award from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless for his leadership on issues surrounding youth homelessness. Rep. Harris was presented with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Champion for the Cure Award in 2008 and 2009, the Chicago House Public Service Award, and was also honored with the Friend for Life Award by the Howard Brown Health Center. In addition, Rep. Harris has been recognized for service to various Chicago communities by awards from Travelers and Immigrants Aid, Voice of the People, the Uptown Chamber of Commerce, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the Chinese Mutual Aid Society, Ethiopian Community Organization, Korean American Community Services, Asian Human Services, The NAMES Project and others. He is a two time winner of the Chicago Free Press BEST LGBT Politician Award and has been a member of the Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame since 1997
Prior to entering public service, Harris served in a number of Senior Management positions with the National Home Furnishings Association.
Currently, his interests include property tax reform, transit reform, and service to Illinois's homeless youth, comprehensive breast cancer services, marriage equality, nursing home quality and affordable, accessible healthcare.