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“I’m in it to win it. Not for a show”

Friday, Dec 3, 2021

* Fran Spielman interviewed retiring Majority Leader Greg Harris, and Harris talked about the hostility he endured from his supposed allies during the push to pass a marriage equality bill

In May 2013, Harris made the difficult and highly emotional decision to call off the House vote that would have sent the bill to then-Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk amid opposition from Catholic leaders and conservative African American ministers.

“Was that a horrible day on the House floor when I was ready to call it, then realized some of my votes were not gonna be there? Oh, yeah. Hell, it was. That was like a horrible day to be booed. There were people saying, ‘Call the bill. You’ve got to put it up there. You’ve got to make a record,’” said Harris, who choked back tears on that fateful day.

“I thought … to put up peoples’ rights for a vote and have them lose and lock votes in that might be with you on a future roll call would have been a huge mistake. It could have set us back years and years. So, we regrouped. We organized in every community. And in November, it passed. Illinois was the last state that was able to pass marriage equality legislatively.” […]

He’s not interested in Pyrrhic victories. He’s not satisfied to introduce a bill, put out a news release and watch the legislation go down in flames.

“I’m in it to win it. Not for a show,” he said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

11 Comments
  1. - the Edge - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 2:59 pm:

    A truly remarkably man.


  2. - H-W - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 3:08 pm:

    Two thumbs up. Good leadership on a highly moral, social issue.


  3. - You gotta love - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 3:12 pm:

    Rep. Harris. What a huge loss for ILGA. He not only wins what he puts forward but most importantly what he puts forward helps people who need help. The definition of a great leader.


  4. - Annonin' - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 3:19 pm:

    Best poster person example of bills aren’t called for show and tell roll calls. Ironic the Obama are back in town


  5. - Dirty Red - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 3:31 pm:

    I will never forget his speech on the last day of session 2012. He asked us not to lose hope.

    Speaker (finally) came along.

    GOP support, including from the recently former House minority leader, in both chambers.

    It was signed by a practicing Catholic governor who said in televised debate three years prior he would support civil unions - not marriage equality.

    “Even the top of his head is blushing!” And for good reason.

    Leader does more than legislate, and he does not need cameras, social, or press releases to prove his commitment to human rights. He does that every time he says, “I support you.”

    Shame on those who call Greg Harris a traitor to the cause.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 3:32 pm:

    Harris has always been a work horse not a show horse.

    Why would Harris not push anything that couldn’t get ripe, especially something like that?

    He wouldn’t.

    Harris will leave a legacy few can match.


  7. - Norseman - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 3:46 pm:

    This is the kind of quality knowledge of the politics and practice that we’re losing in Rep. Harris. We see few true legislative practitioners anymore. Instead, we see to many clowns and liars.

    Illinois will miss this true legislative leader.


  8. - Watchful eye. - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 3:59 pm:

    A good man.


  9. - Cosgrove - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 4:15 pm:

    In it to win. Thank you Greg Harris! I have never understood anything but that, but so be it.


  10. - Henry Francis - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 4:18 pm:

    A serious man who took his job seriously.

    A dying breed in today’s political environment.


  11. - walker - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 4:56 pm:

    Simply the most respected person in the House.


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