Ald. Mark Tendam joins race for Evanston mayor


Daily file photo by Daniel Tian

Ald. Mark Tendam (6th) speaks at a city council meeting. Tendam announced his candidacy for mayor of Evanston on Wednesday.

Nora Shelly, City Editor

A third candidate has entered the race for mayor of Evanston.

Ald. Mark Tendam (6th) announced his candidacy Wednesday. The alderman joins the race alongside Ald. Brian Miller (9th) and businessman Steve Hagerty.

After serving as alderman for nearly eight years, becoming mayor seemed like a way to move to something bigger, Tendam said. He said he was drawn to the opportunity to focus on the city as a whole rather than just the Sixth Ward, which includes the northwest part of the city.

“We tend to spend all the time in our wards,” he said.

As alderman, Tendam worked on changing the organization that runs Evanston Animal Shelter to a user that he said was more in-line with the city’s philosophy. He also pointed to his work on amendments to the affordable housing ordinance.

Tendam said affordable housing, reducing violence and increasing employment opportunities are at the top of his platform. He also said the city needs better health services, with a focus on mental health and substance abuse.

Evanston is on the right path, Tendam said, but it can always improve.

“We’re a great city; we excel in many ways, but we don’t like to rest either,” Tendam said. “I see Evanston as a leader. I think that is important.”

Tendam said as Evanston has become more populated and more developed, housing prices and living expenses have increased as well. He pointed to the affordable housing ordinance, which altered city code to incentivize developers to include affordable housing units in their buildings as a way to keep the city accessible to middle and low-income residents.

“We need developers who build with the city in mind,” he said.

Virginia Mann, who has known Tendam for 20 years and has worked with him on many issues in the Sixth Ward, said most people in the ward know Tendam personally.

Mann has decided to run for Tendam’s seat as the ward’s alderman. She said Tendam is the “right person” to lead Evanston as it moves forward.

“He’s really somebody who can work with all parties,” she said. “He gives all sides thoughtful consideration.”

Mann also said she would like to see the next mayor improve the relationship between the city and Northwestern.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, who announced in July she would not seek reelection, said she was pleased Tendam was interested in gun control initiatives. That issue and youth employment have been main focuses for Tisdahl during her two terms as mayor.

“We need gun control, we need more affordable housing, we need more jobs … there are always good things to be working on and improving,” she said. “He’s a good candidate.”

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