Harry Osterman is a progressive, independent voice committed to serving his community.
Harry was born in Chicago and grew up in the Edgewater community. A life-long resident of the 48th Ward, Harry is committed to raising his children in this diverse neighborhood.
Harry’s commitment to fighting for his community was instilled at a young age by his mother, Kathy Osterman, a former alderman and long time community activist. Now married with three young children, Harry’s perspectives have widened and his involvement in his community has deepened. As a community activist and former President of the Edgewater Community Council, Harry has worked on many community issues and he is well versed in the problems we face and how to address them.
For the past 11 years, Harry has been the State Representative for the 14th District, serving the Andersonville, Edgewater, and Rogers Park neighborhoods. As a State Representative, Harry tirelessly fought for legislation to improve the quality of life in his district. He led the fight to close the gun show loophole, renovate the Broadway Armory, increase safety for seniors and nursing home patients, expand early childhood education, improve our local schools, and secure grants for more security cameras near CTA stops and Cease Fire violence intervention. As a long time supporter of the LGBT community, Harry recently worked to pass the civil union legislation.
Harry is a proven fighter for our progressive values.
Harry Osterman’s Record of Accomplishment for Our Community
Public Safety & Gun Control
Working with the Chicago Police Department and members of the community, Harry Osterman makes public safety a priority. As State Representative, Harry’s a leading advocate to reduce gun violence with common-sense legislation. He authored and passed landmark legislation closing the gun-show loophole — requiring buyers at gun-shows in Illinois to now have a pre-purchasing criminal background check. Harry sponsored legislation requiring universal criminal background checks on all handgun sales and banning the sale and manufacturing of military style semi-automatic weapons. Following the Virginia Tech campus shooting, Harry passed legislation to strengthen the background check system restricting mentally ill individuals from accessing firearms. Pursuing a reduction of gun violence near schools and public transportation stations, Harry passed legislation increasing criminal penalties for carrying a firearm near a school or CTA station.
Locally, Harry Osterman continues to work to make the streets of our community safer for our neighbors. In conjunction with the Police, Harry sponsors public and personal safety seminars and has worked to increase police patrols near problem buildings and gang hot spots. His safety office on Thorndale Avenue, staffed with volunteers and CAPS representatives, addresses safety concerns on the street and sponsors numerous positive loitering events with neighbors.
Improving Our Education
Harry understands the importance that receiving a quality education plays in the development of a child’s life. On the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee in Springfield, he worked to improve the city and state-wide education system and to expand the number of charter schools in Chicago giving increased educational opportunities to parents and students. Harry continually fights for funding for Chicago Public Schools advocating reduced class sizes, retaining quality teachers, and adding vital programs for students. Strongly supporting early childhood education, Harry helped secure funding to add additional pre-school and full-day kindergarten classes at local schools. He also secured funding for new computer and science labs at Senn High School and worked to expand their International Baccalaurette program.
As Vice Chairman of the Human Services Committee, Harry has worked to expand vital healthcare services state-wide and worked for better funding and expansion of services. These efforts led to improving healthcare services for women. Harry sponsored and passed legislation requiring insurers to cover ovarian cancer surveillance tests for those at risk or family history of the disease and legislation that requires insurance companies to cover mammograms for women under age 40 who, due to family histories of breast cancer, are at a higher risk. Harry’s mother, former 48th ward Alderman Kathy Osterman, died of ovarian cancer at age 48. He passed legislation that appropriated first-of-its-kind state funding for ovarian cancer research, screening, education, and treatment.
As a father, Harry understands the importance in ensuring quality, affordable healthcare for children. He worked on efforts to pass and fund the “All Kids Program”, ensuring healthcare coverage of all Illinois children. Harry has been a leader in protecting children from the harmful effects of lead poisoning, passing several pieces of legislation requiring children’s products be lead free, increasing warning labels and awareness about the dangers of lead paint, and increased inspections of homes for lead poisoning. He passed legislation amending the Children’s Product Safety Act, ensuring that stores selling children’s products are more responsible for making parents and consumers aware of recalled products
Harry believes quality public transportation is important to our community. On the Mass Transportation Committee, Harry sponsored legislation and fought for increased CTA funding. Harry has fought for capital funding to repair the CTA’s Red Line and has sponsored community-wide planning meetings on needed long-term renovations of stations and track. Harry was able to secure $10 million to develop and build a new Metra station at Peterson and Ravenswood being built over the next three years. It adds an additional transportation option for area residents and reducing the number of cars using Ridge Avenue. Assisting Sheridan Road residents who use the CTA’s bus service, Harry worked with the city to add bus tracker service to Sheridan Road buses.
Parks and Youth Programs
As a lifelong resident of the Edgewater community, Harry knows the importance of recreational programs for local kids. He was the catalyst for the renovation of the Broadway Armory Park, securing $1.5 million in state capital funds and working with the Chicago Park District, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, local officials and community residents on the project. The renovated park includes a new workout facility and many expanded programs, including the gymnastics program. Harry also secured needed funding for renovation of Cedar Play Lot.
Harry has worked closely with a number of local non-profits, including Centro Romero, Alternatives Inc. and the Edgewater Community Council to fund youth programs. He created the Roger Park Youth Employment Services which worked with the city of Chicago and local businesses to train and employee over 300 youth with summer jobs. A similar program will be launched in the 48th Ward next year.
Harry is a long time friend and advocate for the LGBT community. He fought for the passage of an amendment to the State’s Human Rights Act, prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment, lending, public accommodations, and other areas based on an individual’s sexual orientation. Harry is a strong supporter of Gay marriage and works to make it a reality in Illinois.
In the Human Services Appropriations Committee, Harry has successfully fought for expanded funding for programs for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. In 2009 he sponsored HB 6173, increasing funding for ADAP (Aids Drug Assistance Program) and housing, medical care, and supportive services to $44,060.00. He also fought to ensure that the state adequately funded the ADAP program eliminating waiting lists for individuals seeking assistance. He has supported many local organizations with state funded grants including the Aids Foundation, LCCP, Open Hand, and BeHIV. Harry will continue to be a strong ally to the LGBT community.
Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform
Harry believes in open, efficient and transparent government, free of the influences of corruption and campaign donations. Working closely with reform groups Change Illinois and the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, legislation passed that, for the first time in Illinois, will put caps on political donations to candidates to help eliminate negative influences of large campaign contributors. Harry sponsored a constitutional amendment providing voters the ability to recall elected officials. He sponsored ethics reform legislation prohibiting state contractors from making political donations to state office holders who oversee contract awards and he’ll continue to fight for ethical reform measures to clean-up our government.
Economic Development and Small businesses
Harry supports the small business districts in our community and continually reaches out to hear about the local business environment, the challenges and potential opportunities for the area. He has worked closely with, and provided grant funding to the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce to support the locally owned businesses that are so important to our community.