Oak Parker and state Sen. Don Harmon is gaining attention and power in the Illinois Senate, according to a respected Springfield newsletter, and as such he was recently named to a top leadership position.

Harmon was appointed as “president pro tempore” of the Senate last week. He’ll act as a “jack of all trades” in the new position, working closely with Senate President John Cullerton to advance legislation.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity,” Harmon said by phone Tuesday. “I look forward to doing the work and was happy to help the president try to craft a better leadership team.”

Harmon, 44, is a lifelong Oak Parker in his third term as a state senator of the 39th District, which includes parts of Oak Park and River Forest. He’s become a force on the Senate president’s team, according to the Capitol Fax, a respected Springfield newsletter.

“To say that Harmon has become a major player in Cullerton’s team would be an understatement,” Rich Miller wrote in the periodical last week. “He is Cullerton’s top elected advisor, taking up the role formerly played by retired Sen. Jim DeLeo.”

Miller speculated that Harmon might be appointed as majority leader, but that spot remained with Sen. James Clayborne last week. Harmon called the report “idle speculation.”

This marks Harmon’s ninth year in the Senate after originally being elected in 2002. Harmon, who recently voted in favor of the controversial income tax increase, along with abolishing the death penalty, said he is open to running for a fourth term in 2012.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity I’ve had in the Senate and at this point would certainly like to continue doing it as long as the voters would have me,” he said.

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