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Lesbian activist Kelly Cassidy appointed to state legislature

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



Lesbian activist Kelly Cassidy has been appointed state representative for the 14th District, which includes the Edgewater, Andersonville and Rogers Park neighborhoods.

She replaces State Rep. Harry Osterman who was elected 48th Ward alderman in February.

Cassidy, a longtime assistant in the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, was chosen Saturday from a field of 23 candidates.

“For 20 years in Chicago, I’ve worked in not-for-profit and government,” Cassidy said on Sunday. “This is an opportunity to take it to the next level and an exciting challenge.”

Committeewoman and former State Sen. Carol Ronen says the decision was not an easy one but that the vote for Cassidy was unanimous.

“Kelly has a long record of advocacy with issues important to the people of the 14th District,” Ronen said. “Through the state’s attorney’s office, she has worked as a liaison in Springfield and understands how the legislature works and how to build coalitions.”

Cassidy, the third openly gay member of the state House, reports to Springfield on May 16. She knows there will be some “tough budget votes right out of the gate.”

“In our district, there’s a high level of social service organizations offering important services,” said Cassidy, 42. “They are threatened, and it’s my job to defend them.”

Cassidy said she will run in the March 2012 election

“I intend to serve the district as long as I can,” she said.

Another lesbian who was being considered for the appointment, Paula Basta, director of the Levy Center, also has announced her candidacy.



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