Ward 6 candidate Katie Trippi seeks accessibility, affordability and equity


Photo courtesy of Katie Trippi

Ward 6 candidate Katie Trippi seeks to secure and sustain affordable housing, support small and minority-owned businesses and prioritize equitable access to Evanston resources for local youth.

Angeli Mittal, Reporter

6th Ward aldermanic candidate Katie Trippi credits family for cultivating her civic engagement and political activism.

“(Our parents) had us marching against the Vietnam War,” her sister Laura Tucker said. “They had dinner table conversations as children all about current events, and you better not show up if you didn’t know what was going on, because you’re going to get drilled about your opinions.” 

Trippi said she knew she wanted to run for alderwoman when she watched current Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) cast City Council’s only aldermanic vote against the use of revenue from a sales tax on recreational cannabis to fund the reparations program — a position she said doesn’t represent her neighbors’ views.

If elected in the municipal election, the Camp Echo development director at the McGaw YMCA said she’ll work to secure and sustain affordable housing, support small and minority-owned businesses and prioritize equitable access to Evanston resources for local youth.

“Alderman is a great place to start as a candidate and it’s a place where you can really make a difference in Evanston,” Trippi said. “That component of being available and responsible to the people who elect you is one of the most valuable aspects of our democracy.”

If elected, Trippi will be a second-generation City Council member, following in the footsteps of her stepfather, federal judge James B. Moran, who was 3rd ward alderman in the 1970s.

Trippi said Moran’s legacy carries on through the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, an organization intended to address judicial system inequity by providing youth with legal resources.

“The Moran Center is a shining example of the not-for-profit human service agencies that are the wealth of Evanston,” Trippi said. “There are resources in our not-for-profits that we, as a city, can tap into on so many levels. That’s part of what I’m looking forward to bringing to the Council.”

Another major influence in her life has been the McGaw YMCA. Since 2004, Trippi has held three full-time positions at the YMCA. There, she said she loves learning to build community by participating in diversity and equity training and connecting with others at the summer camp, Camp Echo. Not only does Trippi enjoy sharing stories and memories with other Camp Echo alumni, but she also sees the camp as an avenue for building character in both campers and counselors. 

Chuck Heisinger, Trippi’s campaign treasurer, met the candidate 48 years ago as staff members at Camp Echo and continues to work with Trippi at the facility. He said Trippi’s dedication and caring personality led to tremendous campaign support from the YMCA.

“Katie has managed to create and support community, which creates a very different feeling to living here, that makes this place much more liveable,” Heisinger said. “She’s collected over 20,000 names of Echo alums and she knows many of them. I think she’d be the same way in relating to the residents of the 6th ward.”

Her compassion for Evanston residents extends to small and minority business owners. Her mother started her own handmade gift store in Evanston when Trippi was 14, and through this store, Trippi said she grew to understand how Evanston businesses operate.

In an interview with the Democratic Party of Evanston, Trippi said it’s important to listen to business owners and meet their individual needs.

This also means holding NU accountable, she said. While NU has donated $1 million yearly to the Good Neighbor Fund for five years, Trippi said the University should also directly reimburse the city when using services such as the Evanston Fire Department, a proposal Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) made in November 2020. 

Trippi is also prioritizing accessible and affordable housing in her aldermanic run.

“I can see so easily how people are priced out of this town,” Trippi said. “If we honestly want to be the city that we imagine, we want to be able to have folks of all income levels, all races, all ethnicities. Everything that we value in our diversity is threatened when people can’t afford to live here.”

Evanston has a long history of intentional housing segregation through redlining, which prevented Black residents from receiving loans and living in certain Evanston neighborhoods. 

With Evanston leading a reparations fund, the first facet of which will grant up to $25,000 for housing to eligible Black residents, Trippi said she’s excited to help set a precedent for other cities in the country to follow.

“The disparities have been laid bare in the last nine months,” Trippi said. “For sure by the pandemic, by the search for racial justice… I think this is an opportunity to rebuild and repair and start again and I’m excited to be (a) part of that change movement.”

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