Illinois State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (14th-District), held a private fundraiser in the Lakeview neighborhood on Wednesday to garner support for her reelection campaign.
The event was attended by political supporters, Chicago aldermen, and special guest Candace Gingrich-Jones of the Human Rights Campaign. Honorary hosts Ald. James Cappleman of the 46th Ward and Tom Tunney of the 44th Ward opened the fundraiser with a speech.
“Kelly Cassidy brings a resume to her service,” Tunney said. “Her talent in Springfield has just been realized.”
Having begun her term in May, Cassidy is already working to gain voter support for next year’s election. The openly lesbian representative and mother of three boys said she is devoted to representing Illinois, family values and the LGBT community.
“I am able to connect with folks who aren’t necessarily best friends with members of the LGBT community,” said Cassidy regarding her time in the legislator. ”Its allowed me to carry that conversation into areas – with fellow representatives – never anticipated.”
This ability to connect on sensitive issues played out in December when Cassidy spearheaded and passed the Good Drug Overdose-immunity bill. Aimed at teens, it protects a person who “in good faith seeks or obtains emergency medical assistance for someone experiencing an overdose” and assists in the prevention of being charged with a felony if a controlled substance is found.
Activist and long time friend of Cassidy, Candace Gingrich-Jones, made an address to touch on the representative’s dedication to the LGBT community.
“Kelly will work for full marriage equality,” she said during a speech. “You don’t get to choose who you’re related to, but we do get to choose who represents us.”
Gingrich-Jones is well-known as an activist, and the half sister of Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
“She’s a lesbian, but she’s one of those activist lesbians,” she told Chicago Phoenix. “It isn’t just about having someone who is at the table in Springfield, but having someone who’s at the table and having the conversations.”
The event was held at the home Bradley Lippitz and Jonathan Pizer, and surpassed the fundraising goal of $15,000 with help from an impromptu push during a speech at the event. Cassidy left the event early to attend an endorsement session of the Independent Voters of Illinois, Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO), which she was granted.
Cassidy is working to retain her seat in next year’s election against her primary opponent Paula Basta, a lesbian activist. The general primary elections will be held in March.
Cassidy represents the 14th District, which includes Edgewater, Andersonville and Rogers Park.