The 21st Show

Illinois State Senator Napoleon Harris On Why He’s Running For U.S. Senate


With the Illinois Primary coming up next week on March 15th, we’ve been speaking to candidates across the state. Fifteenth District State Senator Napoleon Harris (Democrat, Harvey) is among the three Democrats and two Republicans vying for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Mark Kirk.

When asked why he decided to run, Harris said that he thinks he is a leader that understands the issues from a personal and political point of view, and that Illinois needs that in Washington.

State Senator Napoleon Harris

Fifteenth District State Senator Napoleon Harris (Democrat, Harvey)

Photo Credit: Harris For Senate Campaign

“I’m someone who grew up in an impoverished community, understood that it took education, determination, hard work, but more importantly it took an opportunity to lift myself and my family out of poverty and into the middle class,” said Harris.

He said that that he thinks “we need someone with real life experience, someone who understands what poverty feels like, someone who understands that when you work hard and you’ve been given the opportunity to succeed, that you take that opportunity and try to make life better for others.”

Harris, a Beggar’s Pizza franchise owner, said that he is a “job creator” and that will help him with his primary focus if elected – jobs.

“Too many Americans and too many Illinoisans are still struggling and lagging behind in the financial sphere. We have too many struggling families and not enough income coming into our households,” said Harris.

He plans to fix that by promoting lessening student loan debt and investment in infrastructure, education, and small businesses.

“We’re crippling our next generation of leaders. We’re telling them to go to college and be the very best that they can be, and once they leave they’re saddled with spending the rest of their lives paying off debt,” said Harris.

The state senator said that his time as a NFL linebacker - where he played for the Oakland Raiders, the Minnesota Viking and the Kansas City Chiefs - has also prepared him well to go to Washington and work within partisan politics.

“You have guys from all over from every social, economic background there is and yet you all come together for a common purpose. And I think the reason that you do that is in the locker room we get to know each other,” said Harris, who was a first-round NFL draft pick after playing for Northwestern University. “We should be getting to know each other, get to know each other’s districts, and as I’ve been traveling around the state I’ve gotten an opportunity to learn more. I’d go reach across the aisle and talk to republican lawmakers.”  

He is also less concerned with the political party of Supreme Court justices saying that “justice should be blind.”

“When you’re talking about a Supreme Court Justice, you’re talking about someone who should be articulate in regards to the rule of law, someone who is impartial, and someone who understands the law and applies it to our present day situations.”

This week we will also be hearing from Republican Senate candidate James Marter and have already spoken with Andrea Zopp. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and Senator Mark Kirk are also running, but declined repeated requests for interviews.

You can also find out more about this race and all the races in the March 15th primary through our partnership with Voter’s Edge.

Story source: WILL