Herbert E. Harris II in Memoriam

Congressman Herbert E. Harris II
April 14, 1926 – December 24, 2014

Congressman Herb HarrisThree term Democratic Representative for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, Harris was elected to Congress in 1974 (January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1981).

Herb passed away peacefully at his Alexandria, VA home on December 24. He was 88. Born in Kansas City, MO, he joined the Navy in WW2, and bore a life-long love for civil service. He is preceded by his beloved wife Nancy and his son Sean. He leaves behind three sons, Bert, Frank, and Kevin; his daughter, Susan; eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

His funeral mass will be held at 10:30 am on Monday, January 5th at Good Shepherd Catholic Church (8710 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria, VA 22309). Interment will follow at 1:00 pm at Quantico Veterans Cemetery with military honors. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, click here.

Harris attended St. Francis Xavier Elementary School, Kansas City from 1930 to 1939. He graduated from Rockhurst High School, Kansas City, 1943. He attended Missouri Valley College, Marshall, from 1944 to 1945, and University of Notre Dame from 1945 to 1946. He earned a B.A. from Rockhurst College in 1948 and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law School, Washington, D.C., 1951. He was admitted to the Missouri and District of Columbia bars in 1951 and commenced practice in Kansas City. He moved to the Washington, D.C., area in 1951. He is the co-founder, vice president, and general counsel of the international trade consultants firm of Warner & Harris, Inc. He served on the Fairfax County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors (Mt. Vernon) from 1968 to 1974. He had been vice chairman of the County Board of Supervisors in Fairfax County as well, was a very distinguished leader there both in Fairfax and regionally.

He served as member of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority from 1968 to 1974. He served as vice-chairman of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority from 1970 to 1974. He was the instrumental figure in securing the needed funding for construction of Metro. We think of Stark-Harris funds and the legislation that came out of that landmark legislation. The Metro system as it exists today would not be there but for Herb Harris. He was a leader in getting money for that area and allocating it, bringing the region together to address the problems with building this mighty system.

Harris was elected as a Democrat to the 94th Congress in 1974, defeating incumbent Rep. Stanford E. Parris. He was re-elected to the 95th and 96th Congresses, serving January 3, 1975 to January 3, 1981 overall.

He was the first freshman Congressman in 25 years to serve as chairman of the House District of Columbia Subcommittee on the Environment Bicentennial Celebration and International Community as well.

He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1980 to the 97th Congress, defeated by Stanford E. Parris, who regained his former congressional seat. In 1982, Harris attempted a comeback, but lost 48.6%-49.7%. Harris offered sympathy when Stanford E. Parris died in 2010.

After leaving Congress in January 1981, Herb resumed the practice of law with the firm of Harris Ellsworth & Levin in Washington, D.C.

December 12, 2009 Harris was acknowledged with the Northern Virginia Service Award from the 11th Congressional District Democratic Committee and Congressman Gerry Connolly.