Q&A: Meet Rep. Earl Harris Jr., continuing the family tradition

By Logan Macaluso
TheStatehouseFile.com

This story is part of a series of Q&As with newly-elected members of Indiana General Assembly. Some responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Meet Rep. Earl Harris Jr.

Age: 47
Hometown: East Chicago
Party: Democrat
Occupation: President and Producer of Motivation Media

INDIANAPOLIS – Continuing on the Harris political legacy, Sen. Earl Harris Jr., D-East Chicago, plans to spark economic development and education, not only in his hometown, but also for the state of Indiana.

Harris, President of the Motivation Media, produced a show called A Chevrolet Indiana Prep Zone. The TV show, which features high school sports, airs on Fox Sports Midwest and has received Emmy nominations.

“I’m a small business owner of a television video production company called Motivation Media,” he said. “I do anything from broadcast television shows to marketing videos.”

Earl Harris Jr. carrying on as represetntative of East Chicago after his father held the seat for 33 years and his mother held the seat last year. By Derreck Stahly, TheStatehouseFile.com

Earl Harris Jr. carrying on as represetntative of East Chicago after his father held the seat for 33 years and his mother held the seat last year. By Derreck Stahly, TheStatehouseFile.com

Question: What are your main goals as a state representative?

Answer: My main goals as state representative is to represent the district that I’m in, which is House District 2, located in northwest Indiana. So, it’s about representing the people and doing things that will help the area, grow the area, and make it a better place.

Your focus is always the district you’re in, but you also have to consider the state as an entirety. What we should do is help our fellow citizens and make the lives of Indiana residents better by providing services, provide help, put things in place that make life better in terms of education, economic development, health. Whatever your focus is, it should be about taking care of the people.

Q: What motivated you to run for office?

A: I come from a little bit of a different situation. I’m following in the footsteps of both my parents. My father was in office for 33 years until he passed away in March of 2015. After he passed away, my mother was elected to replace him. So she served for the last year, and I decided to go into it.

Running for office was something that had been a thought, and my father and I had conversations about other positions in the past. This just felt right, continuing the legacy and things my father started. He didn’t live long enough, so I’ve added new things into it. I have been around this for most of my life. I mean, there are people who literally saw me as a little kid running around this place. I also decided to do it, because I had an agenda. I had things I wanted to get done to improve northwest Indiana and doing this, I could work on those. I’ve always had a vision of helping the area.

Q: What local issues are you most passionate about?

A:  When I got into this, the two main areas I’ve focused on were economic development and education. Those, to me, are huge issues, not only for my area, but the entire state. They also are connected to my background. I worked in public education for 20 years. I ran Indianapolis Public Schools Television, which was the television production department. So we produced educational television shows, videos, and even mentored students that wanted to get into television and video production. I am also a small business owner of a company called Motivation Media.

Economic development, growing the area and education/training are the main things that I focused on during the campaign, and I’m still working on those. What we’re facing now in East Chicago is the lead issue that broke really big last year. So there is a lot of focus on that, and I have a couple of pieces of legislation pertaining to that issue. I have part of Gary in my district, so I have also been involved with the financial issues that the Gary public schools are working it. As for the economic development part, what I’ve been working on is really making northwest Indiana a tourism destination place.

Logan Macaluso is a reporter for TheStaehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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