SPRINGFIELD – Speaker Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement Thursday announcing his appointment of state Rep. Greg Harris as House majority leader:

“At my request, Representative Greg Harris will serve as House majority leader. This is the first in a series of leadership appointments that will be announced in the coming days reflecting the diversity of our state, and reflecting our caucus’ approach to the coming legislative session.

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“Throughout his tenure, Representative Harris has shown a dedication to meeting our state’s biggest challenges head on. Throughout his career, he has worked to advance progressive ideals, while also building bipartisan consensus. He led a historic effort to make Illinois one of the first states to pass legislation ensuring equal rights for same-sex couples; he has spearheaded complicated Medicaid reforms with an eye toward compassion and expanded access to health care; and his leadership was most critical during the budget crisis, when Representative Harris was instrumental in bringing together Democrats and Republicans to enact a bipartisan budget that protects lifesaving services like breast cancer screenings, child care, health care for the elderly and much more.

“In 1997, I asked Barbara Flynn Currie to serve as the state’s first female majority leader. Following in her historic tenure, today’s appointment again represents House Democrats’ commitment to building an inclusive, welcoming Legislature where all are represented. As the first openly gay majority leader, Representative Harris will also continue to reflect our caucus’ commitment to working across the aisle and making the tough decisions.”

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