* Press release…
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.
The full speech is here.
It occurred to me this morning that I’ve now been around longer than all four leaders and the governor.