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Greg Harris began his first term in the Illinois House of Representatives on December 1, 2006. Harris represents the 13th District, which includes the Chicago neighborhoods of Uptown, Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, North Center and Bowmanville. Harris is the highest ranking openly gay elected official in the State of Illinois.
Harris' current legislative priorities include public safety, education, LGBT and HIV issues, affordable housing, accessible health and mental health care, and economic development.
Before his election, Harris served for 14 years as the Chief of Staff for 48th Ward Chicago Alderman Mary Ann Smith. In 1998, Harris ran for Mayor Daley the North Halsted Streetscape project, an effort to enhance a key retail and entertainment corridor on Chicago's North Side. Prior to entering public service, Harris worked in a number of senior management positions with the National Home Furnishings Association.
An openly gay public official who is also openly a person with AIDS, Harris has devoted his energies to work with numerous community organizations. He co-chaired the City of Chicago's Task Force on LGBT Substance Use/Abuse and is a member of the Crystal Meth Task Force. He is a founder and first Board President of both Open Hand Chicago and of AIDSWalk 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 on the boards of Open Hand Chicago, Non-Profit Financial Center, and the AIDS Legal Council. He was also a Director of the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights and a member of the Chicago Area HIV Service Planning Council. In 1997, Harris was inducted into Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.
Named Outstanding Young Chicagoan in 1992 by the Chicago Jaycees, he is listed in Who's Who in America. In 1997, Harris and Mayor Daley shared the Human Rights Campaign "Equality Award" for their work in passing a domestic partner ordinance in Chicago. In 2000, Harris was awarded the Humanitarian Award by the Greater Chicago Committee for HIV/AIDS in recognition for his work in the African American community.
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, Chicago House and Social Service Agency, The NAMES Project and many others.