(Springfield, IL) – May 16, 2011. Chicago Democrat Kelly Cassidy was sworn-in today as Illinois’ newest state representative, replacing State Rep. Harry Osterman who assumed his seat as Chicago’s 48th Ward Alderman.
Cassidy took the office’s oath from Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis at 2:50pm in the Supreme Court’s Springfield office building with a small group of gay rights leaders witnessing the brief ceremony.
Cassidy becomes the third openly gay or lesbian legislator in the Illinois General Assembly.
“I am excited to start working. and as my father always told me, I plan to lead with two ears and follow with my mouth, because one should listen more than one speaks,” said Cassidy to her new legislative colleagues on the House floor after being introduced by openly-gay State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago).
Also welcoming Cassidy to the House was veteran lawmaker and gay rights champion State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago).
“Harry Osterman is a tough act to follow,” said Feigenholtz. “But Kelly Cassidy is talented enough and tough enough to do it.”
“Not long ago, having an openly gay or lesbian legislator would have been unthinkable,” said Anthony Martinez Executive Director for The Civil Rights Agenda Now, who attended Cassidy’s swearing-in. “Illinois has [now] three—and the first LGBT legislator with children.”
State Rep. Deborah Mell (D-Chicago) is the third.
In addition to Martinez, activists Lowell Jaffe, Rick Garcia, Michael Bauer, and Avon Township Supervisor Sam Yingling also witnessed Cassidy’s oath-taking.
“I’ve known Kelly for years,” said Garcia, “Springfield, the House, can be difficult to navigate. But Kelly has the experience to hit the ground running.”
The legislature’s spring session has approximately two more weeks to run before its May 31 adjournment date.