Kelly's Update

The first official week of the spring session of the 103rd General Assembly is officially in the books. As is typical at the beginning of session, there’s not a lot of “visible” work happening in that we don’t have long floor sessions or committee hearings as most folks are still working with advocates and colleagues on final bill language in advance of today’s drafting request deadline. We were originally scheduled to be in session Tuesday through Thursday but cancelled the Thursday session. I’m always glad to get a bonus day in the district, but I was sorry to miss out on the productive conversations we were better able to convene while being together.

With today’s draft submission deadline, we expect to spend the next few weeks before we reconvene working on edits and negotiating changes to bills prior to the introduction deadline on February 9th. In addition to new initiatives, we have 2 bills that we passed over to the Senate we hope to move this spring: HB1397 will add coercive control to the factors prosecutors can consider in charging sexual assault to address the growing phenomenon of abusers using threats such as deportation or access to children rather than physical violence. HB3158 will allow Illinois Funeral Directors to offer Natural Organic Reduction or Human Composting as an option alongside more traditional cremation methods and burial. Both of these bills passed in the spring and are still awaiting action in the Senate. HB1397 is being carried in the Senate by Sen. Celina Villanueva who I’ve worked with on many issues over the years including our work to protect access to reproductive and gender affirming care in the Patient and Provider Protection Act. HB3158 is carried by our very own Sen. Mike Simmons. Both are outstanding sponsors and adept at navigating the Senate process.

Speaking of Sen. Simmons, some of his team were in the 49th ward this week trying to connect with small business owners who might be eligible for the 7th District Small Business Restoration Grant (SBRG). The deadline has been extended to Feb 16, so if you’re a local small business owner or know of one who could use the support, get your applications in soon!

We’re finally starting to thaw out a bit and our furnace might start speaking to us again soon. Poor old thing was really struggling to keep up. The joys of old houses never end. As we head into next week with more seasonally appropriate temps, I’m looking forward to getting outside a little bit more than this week’s weather allowed.

Neighborhood Shoutouts

Neighbors "Ghosted" by Park District

Paschen Park, located at 1932 W Lunt Ave, practically once served as the backyard for the Pollard family, the exceptionally historic first black residents of Rogers Park. Christian P. Paschen, for whom the park is named after, has nothing short of a problematic history that begs for the park's name to be reconsidered especially with such storied residents living next door.

Changing the park's name was needed and obvious decision for both the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society and the current owners of the Pollard home who formally requested for the Chicago Park District to change the name of Paschen Park to the Pollard Family Park in 2021. The name change request is STILL in the review process which has led to frustration that continues to mount for park advocates.

To learn more about the Pollard family, click here.

To learn about the campaign to change the park's name click here.

Follow this Link to read the Blockclub article that details the advocates' and Pollard family's story.

In the District

City of Chicago Bike Survey

The City of Chicago is currently undertaking a comprehensive study to assess the impact of bike lanes on neighborhood commercial corridors.

In order to gather a thorough understanding, the study will compare corridors with bike lanes to those without, with a specific focus on Clark Street from Lawrence to Edgewater. As part of this investigation, various economic datasets will be analyzed, but the invaluable perspectives of business owners and neighborhood residents along this corridor are crucial. Recognizing the significance of firsthand knowledge and experiences, the city extends an invitation to business owners and community members to participate in a focused group discussion. This provides an opportunity for the community to share their insights, contributing valuable information to the study's findings.

To complete this survey, visit the following LINK.

Apply to Vote by Mail in the 2024 Primary Election

Chicago will hold a Primary Election on Tuesday, March 19. Candidates for President, and US Representative will be on the ballot, as well as candidates for state and county positions and ward committee person. Visit to confirm your voter registration and make sure you are all ready for the election.

You can also apply now to vote by mail. Click here to fill out your application. You will be able to return your ballots by mail or through one of the secure drop boxes that will be in place at early voting sites.

PLEASE NOTE: You will not automatically receive a new vote by mail ballot unless you are already on the permanent roster. If you want to vote by mail and are not on the permanent roster, you must apply again now.

For more information on the election and how you can vote, visit

Andersonville Coffee & Cocoa Crawl

Coffee & Cocoa Crawl tickets are on sale NOW! One of our big hit events last year, Coffee & Cocoa crawl, (10AM - 1PM on Saturday, February 10) part of our Fika Fest Weekend, takes you up and down Clark to sample some of the warmest, coziest, most delicious coffee and cocoa Chicago has to offer.

At check in, attendees will receive a commemorative Andersonville mug and your route card (Bean or Brew) that will act as your ticket for each location. Kids under 10 crawl for free with a paid attendee. Please make sure to register your child when checking out.

Andersonville Kids Activities Fair

Join the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce Rogers Park Montessori School at the Kids Activities Fair on Saturday, February 24, from 9:30AM-12:30PM. Showcase your summer camps and year-round youth programming to parents, caregivers, and the community. Limited spots available, free for not-for-profits, $50 fee for for-profits. Sponsorship opportunities at $250 welcomed. Secure your spot by signing up before the deadline on January 31, at 5PM. For demonstration inquiries, email by February 5. Don't miss out on this chance to be part of a vibrant kids' event!

7th District Small Business Restoration Grant

State Senator Mike Simmons is announcing the 7th District Small Business Restoration Grant, made possible by $2.5 million in funds that is meant to provide one-time, $10,000 grants to Illinois 7th District small businesses. The grant is provided in partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Grant funds are intended for independently-owned small businesses that have missed out on previous grant opportunities, are in danger of closure and/or are facing financial hardship, and identify as historically underserved entrepreneurs located in the 7th District.

Applicants must operate in brick-and-mortar sites in the State of Illinois’ 7th District and must have first opened no later than Sun, Dec 31, 2021.

Applications are due on Tue, Feb 16, 2024 5 pm.

Register here for the Tues, Jan 9 informational webinar at 3:30 pm.

For more information, click here. To apply, click here.

Youth & Teen

After School Matters Spring Application Open

After School Matters is accepting applications for its spring program!

Programs run from February 26 through May 11 and are open to teens ages 14-18. Every ASM program allows you to explore your passions, learn new skills, and earn money at the same time!

To learn more about the program and to apply, visit the following LINK.

Employment Resources

Wild Onion Market General Manager

The Wild Onion Market is accepting applications for its first General manager Position.

Per the job description: The General Manager (GM) plays a pivotal role in leading our cooperatively owned grocery store to achieve the mission, vision, and Policy Governance as articulated by the Wild Onion Market Board of Directors and ownership. This is an onsite, store-based role with extensive public contact in a dynamic environment.

To learn more about this position, visit the following LINK.

Edgewater Chamber of Commerce Community Development and Business Services Manager Postion Hirings

Edgewater Chamber of Commerce is hiring a Community Development & Business Services Manager!

Are you an extremely organized, detailed-oriented program manager with experience managing a Special Service Area, Business Improvement District, Economic Development Corporation or membership association? If yes, Edgewater Chamber of Commerce is looking for you!

To learn more about this position and to apply, click here.

Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program


Kelly Cassidy

State Representative, 14th District

Office of State Representative Kelly Cassidy

1507 W. Morse Ave

Chicago IL 60626

773 - 784 - 2002 (phone)

Facebook  Instagram  YouTube  Web  Twitter