Greg Harris (Ohio politician)

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Greg Harris was an American politician of the Democratic party and was a member of Cincinnati City Council. He lost the November 2009 election to keep his seat on Council.

2004 Congressional race[edit]

As director of a local public policy organization, Harris was well known in political circles but had little public name recognition. He focused his 2004 race on voter registration and turnout, and his surprising performance encouraged the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to target the race in 2006. Harris decided against another race against Chabot despite support from Paul Hackett and then-Congressman and future Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.

Late in the 2004 campaign, Harris was named to Howard Dean's "Dean Dozen," although this "net-roots" support was too late to change the outcome of the election. While Ohio's First congressional district is largely Catholic and right of center, Harris ran as an unapologetic progressive. He was outspoken in his opposition to the war in Iraq and supportive of such causes as universal health care, energy independence, campaign finance reform, and increased education funding. Harris was endorsed by the progressive Cincinnati weekly newspaper, CityBeat, as well as the region's African American newspaper, the Cincinnati Herald.

2009 City Council appointee[edit]

After John Cranley stepped down from his seat on the Cincinnati City Council, Harris was sworn in as his replacement on January 12, 2009.[1]

Councilman Harris lost his seat in the 2009 Cincinnati City Council election, with 25,210 votes.

Harris' Council tenure (and ultimate defeat) was defined by high profile fights with the powerful Police and Fire Unions. Harris called out police overtime abuses, and Fire Department policies that dispatched a fire truck and ambulance to every single emergency medical call, 90% of which were not fire-related. Harris also took tough votes on pension reform that costs him the votes of thousands of city retirees.

The police and fire unions waged a fierce smear campaign against Harris that cost him his Westside-- largely blue collar, Catholic--base vote. .[2]

One month after Harris' election defeat, the Cincinnati Enquirer took on one of his key issues and ran a devastating series on police overtime abuse. .[3]

In 2011, a new police chief commissioned a 3rd-party audit of the Cincinnati Police Department, something for which Harris advocated throughout his term on Council.

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