Thursday, July 12, 2012

EXTRA: ‘Up and out’ before he was in?

It’s becoming the “mood disorder” heard ‘round the world, with some people already speculating about who could succeed Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill.,  on the off-chance that his ailment forces him to step down from Congress.

Which is likely a long-shot. But anything is possible.

YET I COULDN’T help but notice a Crain’s Chicago Business report this week that went so far as to name potential successors. The business newspaper went so far as to include Napoleon Harris in the mix of people who could someday soon be going to Washington.

For those of you who are now wondering “Who??!?,” Harris is the suburban Flossmoor resident who grew up in Dixmoor, was a football star both at Thornton High School in Harvey and Northwestern University in Evanston, then went on to play a few seasons in the National Football League.

Since then, he has used his money to buy a couple of Beggar’s Pizza franchises in the south suburbs. He also has political aspirations.

Which is why he ran for, and won, the Democratic primary back in March for an Illinois Senate seat being given up by state Sen. James Meeks, D-Chicago. He doesn’t have any serious challenger for the general election.

SO COME JANUARY of 2013, Harris will become a state senator from the south suburbs.

Unless, by some chance, he gets his chance to make the “up and out” move before he ever gets to Springfield.

The idea of someone in the state Legislature being called upon to serve in Congress isn’t at all unusual. Many of the representatives and senators now serving in Washington did their time in the state capitols of our nation.

But Harris (who’s actually Napoleon III) could be the first to make the move to the higher level of government before ever actually serving at the Statehouse.

HE COULD GET the benefits of the Illinois Legislature without ever having to endure the nonsense inherent to being a state lawmaker.

Unless, of course, all of this Jackson speculation turns out to be overblown and he remains in office. This is a slow time of the year for Congress, and I don’t think his presence was missed when the House of Representatives persisted Wednesday in taking a blatantly-ideological vote concerning health care reform by the same people who want to believe that “mood disorder” is just a cover-up for a drinking problem.


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