Kelly Cassidy
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 14th district
Assumed office
May 16, 2011
Preceded byHarry Osterman
Personal details
Born1967/1968 (age 53–54)[1]
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
(m. 2017)
Children3
WebsiteCampaign website
Official Twitter

Kelly Cassidy (born 1967/1968) is an American politician from Chicago. She is a Democrat and a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. She was appointed 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.[2] Most notably Kelly Cassidy was the chief sponsor of House Bill 1438, making Illinois the first state to legalize the Adult-Use of Cannabis through legislature as opposed to a ballot measure.

Early life and career

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.[3] 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.[4]

Illinois State Representative (2011-present)

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.[5] 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%).[6]

In 2018, J.B. Pritzker appointed Cassidy to the gubernatorial transition's Restorative Justice and Safe Communities Committee.[7]

In 2019, Cassidy was an advocate for the Reproductive Health Act, which repealed many restrictions on abortion.[8]

Personal

Cassidy is openly lesbian.[9][10] Her spouse is Candace Gingrich,[11] who works as a lobbyist for an Illinois-based cannabis company following Cassidy's work to legalize cannabis.[12]

She lives with her three sons on the North Side of Chicago. She is one of four openly LGBT members of the Illinois General Assembly, alongside Rep. Greg Harris and Lamont Robinson, both Chicago Democrats, and Sam Yingling, a Democrat from Round Lake Beach, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago.

Other

In 2014, Cassidy was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.[13]

In 2019, Cassidy was selected by the 49th ward Democratic Party to fill the role of 49th ward party commiteeperson. The position became vacant after incumbent Joe Moore stepped down, following his defeat in the election for 49th ward alderman to Maria Hadden. Both Moore and Hadden supported Cassidy's selection as committeeperson.[14][15]

In February 2021, State Sen. Heather Steans, who was re-elected just two months prior to represent a district covering Rogers Park, Edgewater, and Andersonville, resigned, having suddenly decided that “it’s time for new faces and fresh energy.” A replacement in such a situation is picked by the district’s committeepeople: an unpaid County-level position elected during presidential or gubernatorial primaries. Despite being the presumed front runner and endorsed by the outgoing State Senator, Cassidy lost the vote of committeemen to Rahm Emanuel's former policy director Mike Simmons. Community groups protested what was seen as an attempt by the State Representative Cassidy and Senator Steans to circumvent the normal election process as had been done several times previously in that district.[16][17]

Electoral history

Illinois 14th Representative District Democratic Primary, 2012[18]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Kelly M. Cassidy (incumbent) 6,163 62.28
Democratic Paula A. Basta 3,732 37.72
Total votes 9,895 100.0
Illinois 14th Representative District General Election, 2012[19]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Kelly M. Cassidy (incumbent) 32,777 99.95
Write-in 18 0.05
Total votes 32,795 100.0
Illinois 14th Representative District General Election, 2014[20]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Kelly M. Cassidy (incumbent) 23,456 87.02 -12.93%
Republican Denis Detzel 3498 12.98 N/A
Total votes 26,954 100.0
Illinois 14th Representative District General Election, 2016[21]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Kelly M. Cassidy (incumbent) 35,989 83.22 -3.80%
Independent Arthur Noah Siegel 7259 16.78 N/A
Total votes 43,248 100.0
Illinois 14th Representative District Democratic Primary, 2018[22]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Kelly M. Cassidy (incumbent) 16,609 85.94
Democratic Arthur Noah Siegel 2,718 14.06
Total votes 19,327 100.0
Illinois 14th Representative District General Election, 2018[23]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Kelly M. Cassidy (incumbent) 37,446 100.0 +16.78%
Total votes 37,446 100.0
Illinois 14th Representative District General Election, 2020[24]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Kelly M. Cassidy (incumbent) 41,907 100.0
Total votes 41,907 100.0

References

  1. ^ Sfondeles, Tina (July 2, 2019). "Kelly Cassidy — 'in the game' to win". The Chicago Sun-Times. Cassidy, 51, has been a legislator since 2011. The Florida native — the youngest of seven children — first got a job with the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women, ultimately taking a job with Illinois Senate President John Cullerton.
  2. ^ "Kelly Cassidy becomes Illinois' third LGBT legislator". ChicagoPride.com. May 16, 2011. Archived from the original on May 18, 2011.
  3. ^ "Clout St: Lesbian activist named to Far North Side House seat". Chicago Tribune. April 18, 2011.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Front-runners emerge for state rep seat that may disappear soon". Crain's Chicago Business. April 8, 2011.
  6. ^ "2012 Illinois primary results: Illinois House District 14". Chicago Tribune. March 22, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
  7. ^ Miller, Rich (November 30, 2018). "Foxx, Gordon-Booth, Kelly to co-chair Pritzker's Restorative Justice and Safe Communities Committee". Capitol Fax. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  8. ^ "Long-stalled bill that would remove abortion restrictions in Illinois poised to move forward". Chicago Tribune. May 23, 2019.
  9. ^ "Lesbian activist Kelly Cassidy appointed to state legislature". Chicago Sun-Times. April 18, 2011.
  10. ^ "The Other Gay Contenders". The Advocate. July 18, 2011. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012.
  11. ^ Sfondeles, Tina (2019-07-02). "Kelly Cassidy — 'in the game' to win". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
  12. ^ Sfondeles, Tina (2019-07-31). "Pot bill sponsor sees no conflict in spouse's new job". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  13. ^ "Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame". www.glhalloffame.org. Archived from the original on 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  14. ^ Cherone, Heather (2019-03-21). "Ousted Ald. Joe Moore To Step Down As Ward Committeeman, Backs State Rep. Cassidy To Replace Him". Block Club Chicago. Retrieved 2021-02-09.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "Cassidy named 49th Ward committeeperson - Windy City Times News". Windy City Times. 2019-04-24. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  16. ^ McLelland, Edward (2021-01-26). "How to Succeed in Politics Without Winning an Election". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2021-02-09.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Farinas, Gerald. "Mike Simmons beats Rep. Kelly Cassidy to become first openly gay Black Ill. state senator". ChicagoPride.com. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  18. ^ "Election Results 2012 GENERAL PRIMARY". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  19. ^ "Election Results 2012 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  20. ^ "Election Results 2014 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  21. ^ "Election Results 2016 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  22. ^ "Election Results 2018 GENERAL PRIMARY". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  23. ^ "Election Results 2018 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  24. ^ "Election Results 2020 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. December 4, 2020. Retrieved February 10, 2022.