Kelly Cassidy

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Kelly Cassidy
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 14th district
Assumed office
May 16, 2011
Preceded by Harry Osterman (D)
Personal details
Political party Democratic
Residence Chicago, Illinois
Religion Jewish
Website Citizens for Kelly Cassidy
@RepKellyCassidy - Twitter
Kelly Cassidy - Facebook

Kelly Cassidy is an American politician from Chicago. She is a Democrat and a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. She was selected to represent the 14th district, on Chicago's North Side, in April 2011 following incumbent Harry Osterman's election to the Chicago City Council. She took office on May 16, 2011.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Cassidy went to Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida. From 1991 to 1993, she worked as the legislative director for the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women. From 1993 to 1997, she worked for state senate president John Cullerton, running his district office.[2] In 1997, Cassidy joined the Cook County state's attorney's office, initially as a legislative liaison. In 2001, she became the director of programs and development for the state's attorney's office, a post she held until her appointment to the legislature in 2011. Cassidy served as a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.[3]

Legislative service[edit]

Following state representative Harry Osterman's election as 48th ward alderman in February 2011, Cassidy was one of 23 candidates to seek appointment as his successor in the state house. The 14th district, which Osterman was vacating and Cassidy now represents, includes the neighborhoods of Edgewater, Andersonville, and Rogers Park.

Per Illinois law, the vacancy was filled by Democratic committeemen from the wards making up the district, their votes weighted to reflect the share of the district falling in each ward. Because more than half of the 14th district's voters live in Chicago's 48th ward, that ward's committeeman – former state senator Carol Ronen – cast more than half of the votes.[4] On April 17, the committeemen unanimously selected Cassidy to fill the vacancy.

In the 2012 Democratic primary, Cassidy was challenged by Paula Basta, a lesbian and longtime North Side activist. On March 20, 2012, Cassidy won the Democratic primary with 6,040 votes (62.4% of the vote) to Basta's 3,636 votes (37.6%).[5]


Cassidy is openly lesbian.[6][7] She lives with her three sons on the North Side of Chicago. She is one of three openly LGBT members of the Illinois General Assembly, alongside Rep. Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat, and Sam Yingling, a Democrat from Round Lake Beach, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago.


In 2014 Cassidy was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.[8]


  1. ^ "Kelly Cassidy becomes Illinois' third LGBT legislator". May 16, 2011. Archived from the original on May 18, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Clout St: Lesbian activist named to Far North Side House seat". Chicago Tribune. April 18, 2011. 
  3. ^ Newman, Craig (2012-09-02). "Who are the Illinois delegates to the Democratic National Convention?". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  4. ^ "Front-runners emerge for state rep seat that may disappear soon". Crain's Chicago Business. April 8, 2011. 
  5. ^ "2012 Illinois primary results: Illinois House District 14". Chicago Tribune. March 22, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Lesbian activist Kelly Cassidy appointed to state legislature". Chicago Sun-Times. April 18, 2011. 
  7. ^ "The Other Gay Contenders". The Advocate. July 18, 2011. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 

External links[edit]