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– Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement after Congress passed a $1.9 trillion federal COVID relief package: 

“I am glad to see the Biden administration recognize the need states and local governments have for relief in the face of this unprecedented crisis.

“The funds Illinois is receiving will help us distribute vaccines, support local health departments, safely reopen schools and provide direct relief to the hardest hit families.

“This package gets us one step closer to ending the pandemic and addressing the economic pain it caused.

“I am grateful to Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and the members of the Illinois congressional delegation who supported this legislation.”

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SPRINGFIELD —  Oak Park Democrat Don Harmon was re-elected President of the Illinois Senate on Wednesday, promising to continue delivering results for the people of Illinois and calling on his colleagues to focus on “jobs and justice” in the year ahead.

“It’s about making sure our people aren’t forgotten by our economy, or caught up in the cogs of the system to be lost forever,” Harmon said during the Senate’s COVID-19 restricted inauguration ceremony at the state Capitol. “Every day in this state, too many people wake up feeling like the deck has been stacked against them.”

Harmon, 54, was first elected Senate President a year ago to serve out the term of the retiring John Cullerton. On Wednesday, Harmon’s Democratic colleagues re-elected him. In a move to show Senate bipartisanship, Harmon voted for Republican Leader Dan McConchie, and McConchie voted for Harmon.

In his inauguration speech, Harmon urged senators to set aside political differences, recognize the need for change and work together to achieve it.

“This chamber consists of 59 very different people from 59 very different districts. Those differences should be celebrated and utilized to produce better results, not used as an excuse to divide us,” Harmon said. “I vow to do my part to help bridge divides and change the tone of our politics. I hope you will all do the same.”

Wednesday was the first day of the 102nd session of the Illinois General Assembly. Gov. JB Pritzker presided over the Illinois Senate ceremony. Due to the ongoing global pandemic, the ceremony was scaled back dramatically and lawmakers took the oath of office in waves rather than all 59 senators in the Senate chamber at once.

Harmon’s term as president, which is his first full term, runs for two years.

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SPRINGFIELD – Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement after the General Assembly passed sweeping legislation championed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to address systemic racism:

“In a system purposefully and permanently designed to contain all but incremental change, we have accomplished something sweeping in scope and dramatic in impact.

“The members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, working with the Latino Caucus, led the way in developing a package of legislation that attacks the root of the racism that is systemically embedded in every aspect of our lives.

“The children in this state are not receiving equitable education. The same economic opportunities are not truly available to all people. And far, far too many Black and brown men, women and children have died at the hands of those who were meant to protect them.

“The legislation we passed addresses each of those points and moves us toward a brighter future. It is the result of dozens of hours of passionate, difficult and sometimes uncomfortable conversations.

“I am thankful to all members of the Black and Latino caucuses for their hard work and willingness to invite us to be a part of the solution.

“Let me be clear. Our work is not done. The unjust foundations of our society were not built quickly and they will not be dismantled with ease. But we have taken a great step forward today, and I look forward to the road ahead.”


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SPRINGFIELD – After representing the people of Oak Park and the state of Illinois for more than 17 years, Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) looks forward to serving as the 39th Senate president, and thanks his colleagues for recognizing his legislative accomplishments and for believing in his ability to lead the chamber.

“The Senate is a collection of diverse views and diverse experiences but consistent purpose—to best represent the citizens who send us to the Capitol, to collaborate, to compromise, and to create better opportunities, better outcomes, and greater faith in the honor and integrity of our state,” President Harmon said.

Senate President Harmon was first elected to the Senate in the fall of 2002, and has since promoted a progressive agenda based on his commitment to social justice and public service. In 2011, former-Senate President John Cullerton appointed him president pro tempore, offering Harmon a key role in shaping policy and moving legislation through the Senate.

Notable legislation spearheaded by Senate President Harmon include the Preschool for All Program to expand access to preschool opportunities for thousands of Illinois families, a law to make same-day voter registration a permanent option, and the Fair Tax constitutional amendment to allow Illinois to vote to replace the current flat income tax with a fairer, more equitable and efficient approach to lower tax rates for lower income levels.

“The work now begins in earnest,” President Harmon said. “I look forward to joining together with Governor Pritzker and leaders in both chambers as we work to change the trajectory of our state and set a better course for our future.”


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Harmon Giffords 04282016 CarouselCHICAGO — Illinois State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Thursday called for greater accountability from Illinois gun dealers in an effort to curb violent crime with illegally purchased guns in Chicago and elsewhere in the state.

Harmon is the Senate sponsor of legislation that would give state authorities and police agencies the tools they need to encourage better business practices by federally licensed gun dealers, while holding corrupt gun dealers accountable.

During a news conference in Chicago announcing the formation of a new statewide effort known as the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, Harmon noted that licensed gun dealers are an important link between gun manufacturers and the public. While most Illinois gun dealers strive to be responsible and do the right thing, he said, other dealers are negligent and engage in practices that fuel illegal gun trafficking.

“Yes, many guns are being trafficked into our communities from outside of the state. But consider this: 40 percent of guns used in crimes in Chicago between 2009 and 2014 came from Illinois,” Harmon said. “And the state of Illinois doesn’t have the tools and authority it needs to combat illegal or negligent business practices that threaten Illinois families.”

The legislation, which is expected to be filed in the Legislature next week, would make the following changes to Illinois law:

— Require criminal background checks for gun dealer employees, who have access to large inventories of guns.

— Require training and education for gun dealer employees so the background check system can work better. Employees need to know how to conduct background checks, identify and stop straw purchases of firearms, and properly store guns to prevent thefts.

— Demand additional accountability from gun dealers by enabling state and law enforcement officials to inspect inventories of licensed gun dealers for missing firearms.

“This type of effort is long overdue in Illinois. We’ve been working on these issues for a long time, and we’ve learned a lot,” Harmon said.

“But the obvious fact to me is that often between a gun manufacturer and a crime scene is someone reporting to be a law-abiding gun owner who is not. This legislation is a commonsense response to a gun violence epidemic that is destroying families and communities.”

Giffords, who survived a 2011 assassination attempt during a meet-and-greet event with constituents in Tucson, and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, co-founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, which advocates for commonsense solutions to gun violence in America. Giffords and Kelly are gun owners.

During an appearance in Chicago Thursday with Harmon and gun violence prevention advocates, Giffords encouraged Illinois to fight for sensible change.

“Now is the time to come together, be responsible – Democrats, Republicans, everyone,” she said. “We must never stop fighting. Fight, fight, fight. Be bold. Be courageous. The nation’s counting on you.”

Illinois Representative Kathleen Willis (D-Northlake) is sponsoring the legislation in the House.

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Contact Me

Email President Harmon

Springfield Office:
309-G Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(p) 217.782.8176

Oak Park Office:
6941 W. North Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(p) 708.848.2002

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