harmon inaug

 

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.

Category: News

01122021HAO1094 rSPRINGFIELD – 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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Category: News

OAK PARK, Ill. – Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) announced Pleasant Home in Oak Park will receive a $421,500 grant for its geothermal project.

“Pleasant Home is a beautiful piece of living history in our community and a shining example of the stunning architectural landmarks in Oak Park,” Harmon said. “Investments in our cultural institutions will help preserve these gems for years to come.”

Pleasant Home will use the funds to install a geothermal system that will provide much-needed air conditioning to the 123-year-old National Historic Landmark. 

“The Park District of Oak Park is thrilled to be awarded a State of Illinois Museum Grant,” said Jan Arnold, Executive Director for the Park District of Oak Park. “By adding air conditioning, the park district will be able to preserve Pleasant Home’s interiors while allowing us to increase programming, special events and tours in the summer for guests locally and internationally.”

The grant is part of the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Program, funded by the historic Rebuild Illinois capital plan that Harmon supported through the Senate in 2019.

The state awarded $22.8 million in capital investments to 43 Illinois museums with this round of grants.

More information on the program is available on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website at https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/grants/Pages/Museum-Capital-Grants.aspx.

Category: News

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois Senate President Don Harmon issued the following statement in response to Climate Jobs Illinois’ plan for clean energy jobs:

“I welcome Climate Jobs Illinois and organized labor as key allies in the fight to create a 100 percent clean energy economy—an economy that will not only protect our environment but also generate thousands of good-paying jobs.

Organized labor understands the importance of providing a trained workforce to support middle-class and working families and help close the growing income gap.

I look forward to continuing the conversation on this proposal.”

Category: News

It is difficult to appreciate how much something as expansive as the U.S. Census can truly impact one’s daily life. It is easy to fall into the trap of viewing it as a large, strange concept rather than a necessary step to determining whether vital programs continue.

So, if you will, join me in imagining how much an undercount could affect a day in the (pre-COVID) life of an average Illinoisan. Let’s call her Mary.

Mary’s alarm goes off at least an hour before the sun comes up. Her 12-hour shift as a registered nurse starts early three days a week. Mornings are a rush, and she’s thankful that her son’s school offers a hot breakfast so she knows he’s had something nutritious to last him until lunch.

She smiles for a second after dropping him off. He’s really been thriving this year, and she believes that’s thanks to the early intervention services he was able to receive during preschool.

The road she takes to work used to be filled with potholes, but the city recently repaved it, and she’s hopeful she won’t have to replace another tire for a while.

On her day off tomorrow, she’s going to visit her mother, who is recovering from a hip replacement surgery. Medicare is covering the cost of in-home services, but she likes to stop in and visit to see how her mother is progressing.

At every step of the way in this hypothetical day, Mary used programs and resources that rely on federal funding determined by an accurate census count: her son’s breakfast and lunch programs at school, his early intervention services, the road she takes to work and her mother’s Medicare.

An undercount in the 2020 census could threaten all of those services. According to a report from the George Washington Institute for Public Policy, the undercount of Illinoisans in 2010 resulted in the loss of $952 per person in federal funding in 2015. In the same year, Illinois lost $122 million for every 1 percent of the population not counted in the last census.

As of September 16, 70.4 percent of Illinoisans had filled out the census. The nearly 30 percent who haven’t represent approximately $3.6 billion in federal funding lost. That money could go to repairing roads and infrastructure, building libraries and senior centers, and providing utility/energy and food assistance for those in need.

Fortunately, it is incredibly easy to complete the census. For the first time ever, it can be filled out online at www.my2020census.gov. You can also respond by phone at 844-330-2020 (English) or 844-468-2020 (Spanish). Most households also received a census form in March, which can be completed and returned in the envelope it was sent in. The deadline is September 30, 2020.

By taking five minutes to fill out the census, each and every Illinoisan can contribute to valuable programs and a bright future for our state.  

Category: News

Contact Me

Email President Harmon

Springfield Office:
327 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(p) 217.782.8176

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

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