Vimbai Chikomo Dec. 14, 2015, 7:36am


A small business owner has placed her bid for a seat on the Madison County Board in District 26 currently held by Democrat County Board member Brenda Roosevelt, who will not be seeking re-election next year.

Erica Harriss, whose company manufactures Saving Grace Hair Powder, was born and raised in Madison County, graduated from Edwardsville High School and Southern Illinois University. She said she plans to raise her family in the county and continue to make it a greater place.

Being involved in her community from a young age and having lived in Madison County her entire life, Harriss said she believes she has a rich understanding of the needs in her community.

“I feel like I get the community," she said. "I get the feel and the vibe of the people here. So the decision to run for county board member seemed like a natural step.”

Harriss said she plans to make a difference in the lives of the people in her community by advocating for less government, and ensuring taxpayers are not overtaxed.

“Taxes here are high," she said. "Of course we all want to help out our community, but I want to make sure that taxpayers aren’t overtaxed, and that it’s being rated wisely so we can continue to have good growth."

Harriss also said that as a small business owner, she doesn’t want to drive businesses and people away from the county because of the tax environment.

“I’d like to help find a good balance of wanting to provide great public services without too high of a cost,” she said.

In a little over a year, Harriss has experienced success in her small business, and ships her hair product worldwide. Her business has received recognition as being innovative. She said she plans to use the same skills she applies in growing her business to the county board.

“I feel like I’m very down to earth and a good communicator, and I apply a lot of common sense, which may sound cliché,” she said. 

Harriss said that she realized that many people in Madison County were unaware of the function of the board when she was collecting signatures to get her name on the ballot and many asked her what the county board actually does.

“I think my ability to effectively communicate will be helpful in educating the people in the district and saying, ‘Here’s what your county board does for you.’ I feel like right now, not everyone knows that,” she said.

With her entire family living in the area, Harriss has no desire to live anywhere else. “Some of the best parts of about Madison County are the people and the location. It’s so central, and people here are so down to earth and giving.”

Harriss will be running against Ross Breckenridge, who will be running on the Democratic ticket. 

Breckenridge stated in his announcement that he has served as Glen Carbon village trustee for the past five years, and plans to apply his experience to “help ensure Madison County remains in sound financial condition.”

RiverBender reports that Roosevelt has endorsed  Breckenridge in the race stating that she has worked with Breckenridge and the Glen Carbon village board on several projects, and had observed his commitment to the community and willingness to make a difference.

Calls made to Breckenridge for a statement we not returned at the time of publication.

Harriss and Breckenridge will face-off at the polls next November.

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