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July 9, 1999

Governor Appoints Colonel David Harris As Adjutant General

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today appointed Colonel David Harris, a 20-year veteran of the Illinois National Guard and a former state legislator, as Illinois' new Adjutant General in charge of the Department of Military Affairs.

Ryan also signed Senate Bill 1227, legislation that gives the governor more latitude in selecting future adjutant generals. The law takes effect immediately. Harris' appointment meets the selection criteria prior to the implementation of Senate Bill 1227, as well as the criteria after the law's implementation.

"David Harris will be a great asset to Illinois and I am proud to have him as our Adjutant General," Ryan said. "His nearly 27 years of military experience and his 20 years as a member of the Illinois National Guard makes him well suited for this position. I look forward to working with him."

Colonel Harris, 51, is currently the Director of the National Guard's Selective Service Detachment and is assigned to National Guard State Headquarters at Camp Lincoln in Springfield. Throughout his career, Harris has commanded the 933rd Military Police company, the 44th Rear Area Operations Center and has held various staff officer positions on battalion and state headquarters staffs. Harris has also been given numerous awards and citations for his military service.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to serve Governor Ryan and the people of the State of Illinois," Harris said. "The Illinois National Guard, army and air, has a proud heritage of service to the people of our state and country, both in peacetime and in times of conflict. I am honored that Governor Ryan selected me to lead the Illinois National Guard into the new century."

Harris replaces Adjutant General Richard G. Austin.

In addition to his military career, Harris has extensive governmental experience. He served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from 1983 to 1992 and since 1993 as the Senior Vice President for Government Relations for the Illinois Hospital & HealthSystems Association. As IHHA Senior Vice President, he has directed the association's government relations programs at both the state and federal levels, working closely with the Illinois General Assembly and the state's congressional delegation.

Harris is a resident graduate of the US Army's Command & General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He is also a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Harris, his wife and two sons live in Arlington Heights.

Under Senate Bill 1227, the qualifications for selection as adjutant general or assistant adjutant general shall be 10 years of more of active, commissioned service in a component of the United States armed forces and the rank of -- or the equivalent to -- colonel or lieutenant colonel. The adjutant general must be a member of the Illinois National Guard. Under the former law, the requirement was 10 years of service specifically in the Illinois National Guard.

Senate Bill 1227 was sponsored by Senate President James "Pate" Philip, R-Wood Dale, and state Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville.


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