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|Democratic candidate for
State Treasurer of Illinois
Justin Oberman served as a founding member and senior executive at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), where he participated in several critical aspects of the agency’s start-up, including the hiring of 60,000 employees and taking responsibility for security at 429 airports in 12 months’ time. He was a candidate for State Treasurer of Illinois. He was formerly a candidate in Illinois's 5th congressional district special election, 2009.
Candidacy for Congress
Justin Oberman began his candidacy for Congress in November 2008 and officially withdrew his name from the race January 23, 2009. He was running for Illinois' 5th District seat, left vacant by Rahm Emanuel. Oberman currently resides in Lincoln Park, a neighborhood on the north side of Chicago.
Early Life and Family
Justin Oberman was born and raised in the 5th district, attending public schools. His father, Marty, was the dean of independent aldermen in the Chicago City Council for 12 years fighting waste, fraud, and abuse and on behalf of working men and women in the city. His mother, Bonnie, leads a non-profit organization in Chicago dedicated to enhancing curriculum in our public schools and teaching our kids about the perils of prejudice and racism. His sister, Maren, is a librarian and teacher, mentoring now in the Chicago Public Schools to help other teachers improve their skills.
Oberman earned a B.A. with High Honors from Wesleyan University (CT) where he focused his studies on government and congressional oversight. He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. He began his career at Arthur Andersen, where he worked as a management consultant in aviation with clients in the U.S. and Europe.
Department of Homeland Security
Following the tragedy of 9/11, Oberman joined the Transportation Security Administration. From July 2003 until his departure in December 2005, Oberman was TSA’s Assistant Administrator for Transportation Threat Assessment and Credentialing. He was responsible for the agency’s programs that identify known or potential terrorist threats working in or seeking to access the transportation system. Oberman reported directly to the head of the TSA and ran an office of more than 125 employees with an annual budget of $150 million. The office was responsible for the following programs:
- Secure Flight, a new passenger pre-screening system for domestic aviation in the United States called for by the 9/11 Commission and Congress. At full operation, the program will connect to all 63 domestic air carriers and screen more than 1.8 million travelers each day.
- Registered Traveler, a volunteer program designed to verify passengers’ identities and expedite them through security checkpoints.
- Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), a biometric smart card designed to cover more than 1 million workers at seaports.
- Background checks and credentials for all TSA employees and contractors, and more than five million airport workers, cockpit and cabin crews, truck drivers and general aviation pilots.
Oberman worked on a daily basis with TSA, DHS and White House executive leadership, as well as Congressional policy makers, and key outside stakeholders, such as privacy groups and labor unions. Oberman also co-chaired a working group on Homeland Security reform for Secretary Michael Chertoff.
In 2005, Oberman rejoined the private sector and in 2007 he co-founded NEXA Capital Partners, a specialty financial advisory firm that helps companies raise capital, and work with government agencies and industry organizations. NEXA’s clients include:
- A provider of access and command and control systems to high-security government facilities;
- A manufacturer of unmanned seagoing vessels for military, civilian, and high-end commercial use;
- A fractional provider of Very Light Jets (VLJs);
- A new air service provider for intercity markets that cuts door-to-door travel times in half.
Role in Obama Campaign
In 2007, Oberman joined Barack Obama’s advisory committee on homeland security. His policy work focused on transportation security, domestic intelligence, and privacy and civil liberties. Oberman also volunteered his time to travel to five states to aid in the President-Elect’s field efforts.
- Oberman for Illinois official campaign site
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Sweet, Lynn Justin Oberman latest name in 5th District race to replace Rahm Emanuel Chicago Sun-Times, December 2, 2008
- Holder, Bill Justin Oberman ’96 Eyes House Seat The Wesleyan Connection, December 16, 2008