Recently I had the opportunity to ask State Senator Don Harmon (39th District) this question: “Of all of your remarkable accomplishments as our senator in Springfield, of which are you most proud?”

Upon brief reflection, Sen. Harmon said: “The early childhood initiatives.” As a retired elementary teacher and principal, these are magical words to my ears. Sen. Harmon understands the early childhood research, which shows that efforts toward universal pre-school and enhanced early learning experience are right for many reasons, including cost-effectiveness. More and more experts in the field are convinced that a good early learning experience for all children is a great step in meeting the problem of “achievement gap.” Sen. Harmon was the chief sponsor of a bill which created the Illinois Early Learning Council, and he worked to provide $180 million in new funding for early childhood education programs.

Among his other efforts toward improving lives of all of our children is his support for the All Kids plan for access to health care. Everyone who works with young children understands the relationship of proper preventive health care and nutrition to learning.

Being a family man, with three young children, Sen. Harmon has a personal insight which is important; but beyond that he has the vision which encompasses the needs of our “entire family,” including the youngest, most vulnerable who are at the same time “our greatest resource.”

Please be sure to vote on Nov. 7, returning our hard-working and visionary Sen. Don Harmon to Springfield. He has earned our support with his wonderful record of achievement and his ethical and thoughtful approach to social issues.

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