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Announcing End Of Legislative Career, Republican Worried About His Party's Future

David Harris
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
Rep. David Harris was one of 16 Republican legislators who defied Gov. Bruce Rauner and voted with Democrats to end Illinois' budget stalemate.

State Rep. David Harris is the latest in a growing list of Illinois lawmakers who say they’re not running for reelection.

A Republican from Arlington Heights, Harris has been attacked for breaking with his party to raise taxes and end the state's two-year budget impasse.

“The fact that we now have a budget, I think, is a good thing," he said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "It prevented the state from going to the status of junk bonds, which would have been disastrous."

Harris says he’s worried the Republican Party has become too divided.

“We’re just fighting among ourselves," he said. "I don’t see how that makes us stronger. I don’t see how that builds our base. I don’t see how that allows us to enact policies that work for the benefit of all. It narrows the base, in my mind."

Harris is a retired two-star general who once commanded the Illinois National Guard.

The current General Assembly convened just nine months ago. Harris is at least the 29th state legislator to resign or say he won’t seek another term.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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