CHICAGO
01/03/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rahm Emanuel's Replacement: Former TSA Offical Oberman Enters Race


Another candidate has entered the crowded race for the Congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama's chief of staff.

Justin Oberman, a transportation security consultant and Lincoln Park businessman who served as a member of Obama's advisory committee on homeland security, filed papers creating an exploratory committee for the 5th District House seat.

Oberman is the son of former Ald. Marty Oberman (43rd). His announcement was first reported by the the Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet.

From Oberman's press release:

Justin Oberman for Congress
5th District of Illinois
2009 Special Election
www.obermanforcongress.com

Justin Oberman was born and raised in the 5th district, learning from his earliest days the values of public service and open government.

For more than 12 years, Oberman has served as an agent of change and innovation in transportation and homeland security. In July 2001, he joined Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta's staff to lead a review of Amtrak's financial and operational posture. Following the tragedy of 9/11, Oberman served as a founding member and senior executive at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), where he participated in several critical aspects of the agency's start-up, which included the hiring of 60,000 employees and taking over security at 450 airports in 13 months' time.

From July 2003 until his departure in December 2005, Oberman was TSA's Assistant Administrator for Transportation Threat Assessment and Credentialing. He was responsible for the agency's programs that identify known or potential terrorist threats working in or seeking to access the transportation system. Oberman reported directly to the head of the TSA and ran an office of more than 125 employees with an annual budget of $150 million. Programs in his office included:

• Secure Flight, a new passenger pre-screening system for domestic aviation in the United States called for by the 9/11 Commission and Congress. At full operation, the program will connect to all 63 domestic air carriers and screen more than 1.8 million travelers each day.
• Registered Traveler, a volunteer program designed to verify passengers' identities and expedite them through security checkpoints.
• Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), a biometric smart card designed to cover more than 1 million workers at seaports.
• Background checks and credentials for all TSA employees and contractors, and more than five million airport workers, cockpit and cabin crews, truck drivers and general aviation pilots.

Oberman worked on a daily basis with TSA, DHS and White House executive leadership, as well as Congressional policy makers, and key outside stakeholders, such as privacy groups and labor unions. Oberman also co-chaired a working group on Homeland Security reform for Secretary Michael Chertoff.

In 2005, Oberman rejoined the private sector and in 2007 he co-founded NEXA Capital Partners, a specialty financial advisory firm that helps companies raise capital, and work with government agencies and industry organizations. NEXA's clients include:

• A provider of access and command and control systems to high-security government facilities;
• A manufacturer of unmanned seagoing vessels for military, civilian, and high-end commercial use;
• A fractional provider of Very Light Jets (VLJs);
• A new air service provider for intercity markets that cuts door-to-door travel times in half.

In 2007, Oberman joined President-Elect Barack Obama's advisory committee on homeland security. His policy work focused on transportation security, domestic intelligence, and privacy and civil liberties. Oberman also volunteered his time to travel to five states to aid in the President-Elect's field efforts.

Oberman currently resides in Lincoln Park, a neighborhood on the north side of Chicago.