Illinois Democrats have picked lesbian
activist Kelly Cassidy to fill a House seat being vacated by
Representative Harry Osterman, who was elected to the Chicago City
Council in February, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Cassidy becomes the third openly gay
member of the Illinois House. She'll join Representatives Greg
Harris and Deborah Mell on May 16.
The 42-year-old Cassidy was picked from
a field of 23 candidates on Saturday. She's a longtime assistant in
the Cook County state attorney's office.
“For 20 years in Chicago, I've worked
in not-for-profit and government,” Cassidy told the paper. “This
is an opportunity to take it to the next level and an exciting
Also vying for the position were
transgender activist Catherine Sikora, vice president of the board of
Equality Illinois, and Paula Basta, the openly gay regional director
of the Levy Center, a group that serves seniors in Chicago.
In a statement released Sunday, Basta
said she'll challenge Cassidy for her seat in next year's elections,
gay weekly Windy City Times reported.
“Although I am respectful of the laws
governing the appointment process for this vacancy, I believe the
only true way to earn this seat is through the democratic process
where the people get to choose who represents their voices. That is
why I am announcing without a doubt that I will run for this seat in
2012,” Basta said.