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Illinois Politics

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy Rolls Out Advisory Committees, Senior Tax Relief, Political Reform Initiatives

(Chicago, IL) – October 21, 2011. In an ongoing burst of legislative activity since her appointment to a state house seat, State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) announced this week the rollout of multiple “Citizen Advisory Committees” to be populated by community residents.

“My biggest priority as a Representative is to be accessible to people and get more people involved in the legislative process,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy is casting for community residents to serve on five policy panels: Economic Development, Public Safety, Environmental, Senior Issues, and Education.

“I encourage area residents to join one or more of these advisory committees,” said Cassidy. “We want as many perspectives as possible on each committee.”

Each committee will meet at least quarterly and will review potential legislation, sponsor district-wide events, and assist Cassidy with issue development.

In addition to the citizen policy panels, Cassidy is organizing a blizzard of town hall meetings in her district and bulking-up her legislative agenda.

Last week, Cassidy brought academics, environmental activists, and business leaders to a forum at Loyola University to tackle environmental initiatives, and has a small business forum planned for October 28.

“I am committed to being an accessible representative, and this was the first of several town hall meetings I will be hosting in our community,” said Cassidy who was appointed in May to the seat held previously by now-48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman.

Beyond the community outreach, the newly-minted lawmaker, a long-time human rights leader in the gay and lesbian community, has broadened her legislative agenda, assuming sponsorship of key bills in Springfield.

Cassidy has grabbed leadership of legislation, Senate Bill 19, to eliminate the requirement for annual property tax exemption reapplication in Cook County for senior citizens.  The senior exemption can save homeowners $200 each year, but current law requires an annual application process, a process which many senior activists consider burdensome for elderly.

Cassidy is also taking on the notorious General Assembly Scholarship Program that provides free state tuition to students selected by lawmakers, but the program has been abused by multiple lawmakers to reward political supporters. She assumed co-chief-sponsorship this week of a bi-partisan plan, House Bill 3810, to eliminate the legislative perk.

A mother of three, including twin boys, with her partner Kelley Quinn, Cassidy has decided to seek a full-term and will likely face lesbian activist Paula Basta in the Democratic primary next year.

About David Ormsby

David, a public relations consultant and blogger at The Huffington Post, is an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party.

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