Senate President Don Harmon was born and raised in Oak Park and has dedicated his Senate career to serving and improving not just his own community, but the entire State of Illinois. He was first elected to represent the 39th District in the Illinois Senate in 2002.
Senate President Harmon was appointed Assistant Majority Leader in 2009, and in 2011 was named Senate President Pro Tempore. He has spent his Senate tenure shaping policy and fighting for progressive change. In January of 2020, his colleagues recognized his efforts and elected him to be the 39th President of the Illinois Senate. In his first year as Senate President, Harmon has been tasked with guiding his Senate colleagues through a global pandemic, tumbling economy, and the civil unrest and public policy implications of the historic reckoning of systemic racism in America.
Senate President Harmon attended St. Giles School and he remains a member of the parish to this day. He went on to earn his high school diploma at St. Ignatius College Prep and his bachelor’s degree at Knox College. He holds both a law degree and an MBA from the University of Chicago. In the same week he was elected to represent the 39th District in the Illinois Senate in 2002, he bought his childhood home from his mother in Oak Park where he started his family with his wife, Teri, and later welcomed three children.
Senate President Harmon believes that the opportunity and obligation to end racism and hate falls upon the entire community. He has worked closely with the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to advance a reform agenda founded on four pillars: criminal justice reform; education and workforce development; economic access, equity and opportunity; and health care and human services.
This agenda will make Illinois one of the first states to eliminate cash bail, meaning that no person can be held in jail because they cannot afford to pay a certain amount of money, and puts forth significant changes to the use of force guidelines and qualified immunity for police officers. The Senate President understands the importance of these changes and remains dedicated to ensuring that the laws in Illinois reflect that Black Lives Matter.
He has also sponsored an anti-hate group measure in the Senate which argued that far-right extremism divides America and promotes hate, as well as laws that reformed sentences for juvenile offenders and required more transparency from police who seize property from innocent civilians. The Senate President has shown he is a strong advocate for improved relations between communities, their police, and the criminal justice system.
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