Everything you need to know about Evanston’s April 6 election

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Daily file illustration by Jacob Fulton

Residents can vote at their respective polling locations until 7 p.m. or cast a mail-in ballot postmarked by April 6.

Delaney Nelson and Maia Spoto

Tuesday marks the culmination of a controversial and contentious election season that began in November and has the potential to bring in an entirely new City Council. There are 30 combined candidates vying for aldermanic, city clerk and school board seats.

Polling places across the city will be open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Residents can find their polling locations through the Cook County Clerk’s Office website. Find more voting information here. 

The ballot will include nine aldermanic races, a city clerk race and two school board races. 

Here’s a recap of the candidates, their policies and key campaign moments.

 

Aldermen

1st Ward

  • Ald. Judy Fiske (1st) is the incumbent candidate for the position, and is running for a fourth term. Fiske has served the ward since 2009, and prompted discussion in November about a potential city-wide ban on outdoor drinking games. 
  • Clare Kelly, a longtime 1st Ward resident, is currently a teacher at Evanston Township High School and has been politically active on a variety of issues, including debates on the Harley Clarke Mansion and the Robert Crown Community Center.

— Local activists criticized a February Fiske campaign newsletter, saying the newsletter’s “Civility Matters” paragraph contained coded racism targeting local activists.

City Clerk Devon Reid said a resident who was removed from a February 1st Ward meeting could have a First Amendment claim. 

 

2nd Ward

  • Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) is running for reelection, after running unopposed in 2017. He has committed his support for defunding Evanston Police Department, and came under fire in the summer of 2019 for potential ethics violations after a conflict with residents at a City Council meeting, though the violations were eventually dismissed.
  • Darlene Cannon, a 2nd Ward resident, has been active in community issues, such as development discussions, debates about the future of the Harley Clarke Mansion and the city manager selection process. 

Here is The Daily’s policy guide on Evanston’s 2nd Ward aldermanic candidates.

 

3rd Ward

  • Nicholas Korzeniowski, a 3rd Ward candidate, has lived in Evanston for over a decade. He has previously worked with Indivisible Evanston and the Southeast Evanston Association for a variety of causes, and ran for the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board in 2017. 
  • Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) has served on City Council since 1998, and previously served on the city’s Environment Board. In her candidacy announcement, she said her priorities will be ensuring equity and rebuilding the city’s economy through financially sound budget planning.

 

4th Ward

  • Diane Goldring has a background in finance, during which she worked with small businesses and local community work. She has served on the board of Evanston CASE, a special education advocacy organization, and has volunteered weekly at Connections for the Homeless.
  • Jonathan Nieuwsma served as the president of Citizens’ Greener Evanston from 2009 to 2020. He was also appointed to the city’s utilities commission and is a founding member of the Evanston Development Cooperative. 

Here is The Daily’s policy guide on Evanston’s 4th Ward aldermanic candidates.

 

5th Ward

  • Bobby Burns, a longtime 5th Ward resident, is a community organizer and former interim deputy city clerk. 
  • Carolyn Murray, a gun control activist and former Navy veteran, plans to bring transparency to the 5th Ward and City Council if elected. 

Here is The Daily’s policy guide on Evanston’s 5th Ward aldermanic candidates.

— A White supremacist zoom-bombed Murray’s January Democratic Party of Evanston endorsement call, threatening violence against Murray.

Note: Tina Foster will be listed on the ballot, but is no longer an active candidate in the 5th Ward race. 

 

6th Ward

  • Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th), a lifelong Evanston resident, is running for re-election to represent the 6th Ward. If elected, the incumbent will prioritize open communication, as well as public service programs such as traffic control, rodent control and lawn services.
  • Katie Trippi, an ETHS graduate, is currently serving as the Camp Echo Alumni and Development Director at McGaw YMCA in Evanston. Trippi has supported community and arts development through her time working through the YMCA. 

 

7th Ward

  • Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) is running for reelection for a third term after initially being appointed in 2016. Revelle, who has lived in Evanston for 42 years, has served as president of both the Evanston and Illinois branches of the League of Women Voters, and as a founding board member and president of Citizens’ Greener Evanston. 
  • Mary Rosinski is an Evanston resident, realtor and activist. Rosinski has been active on multiple community issues, including the debates surrounding the Harley Clarke Mansion and the Robert Crown Community Center. 

 

8th Ward

  • Matthew Mitchell, an attorney, has served in multiple citizen oversight roles to hold EPD accountable. 
  • Devon Reid, Evanston’s City Clerk, has a background in political consulting and community organizing. 

Here is The Daily’s policy guide on Evanston’s 8th Ward aldermanic candidates.

 

9th Ward

  • Ald. Cicely Fleming (9th) is running unopposed as the incumbent candidate. She’s running for her second term after spending time as a founding member of the Organization for Positive Action and Leadership, as well as a past PTA President. 

 

City Clerk

  • Cynthia Beebe is a longtime Evanston resident and one of the first female agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Beebe said if elected she will increase voter registration and turnout, ensure Evanston business records are well-managed and help residents understand how to effectively submit a Freedom of Information Act request.
  • Stephanie Mendoza is a community organizer, and has primarily worked with the city’s Latino and undocumented communities. Recently, Mendoza has been a champion of a proposed aid fund for undocumented residents, and she has previously worked on multiple political campaigns. 

—  Mendoza and Beebe secured spots on the ballot in March after running in a crowded primary that saw six write-in candidates.

— City clerk candidates discussed voting procedures and trust-building in a February forum.

— City clerk candidates examined overhauling the city’s Freedom of Information Act request process in a February forum.

 

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 

  • Soo La Kim has over 20 years of teaching and administrative experience in higher education, and is currently the assistant dean of graduate programs in the School of Professional Studies at Northwestern University. An incumbent, Kim is a founding member of Lincoln Elementary School’s equity committee.
  • Joseph ‘Joey’ Hailpern, who belongs to the Walker Elementary community, is a school principal in Lake County and the father of four children. He has served on the D65 board since 2017 and is the chair of the finance committee.
  • Elisabeth ‘Biz’ Lindsay-Ryan is an equity, diversity and inclusion consultant and professor seeking re-election. Lindsay-Ryan leads the PTA Equity Project, which reallocates funds from the highest revenue D65 PTAs to other D65 schools.
  • Marquise Weatherspoon, who has a background in sales and customer service, is the mother of four children. She has served for two years as President of Advocates for Action, a leadership council for leadership training group Cradle to Career. She is currently the treasurer of the Chute Middle School PTA.
  • Donna Wang Su is the associate director of operations/program manager and adjunct lecturer for the Farley Center at Northwestern. Within the district Su is the district’s PTA Council president and serves on the PTA Equity Project enrichment committee.
  • Angela Blaising is the vice president of capital markets at Hyatt Hotels Corporation and a mother of two D65 middle schoolers. She has a background in commercial real estate finance.
  • Katie Magrino Voorhees, who has studied child development and trauma-informed care, has worked as a mental health clinician in private practice for nearly two decades. She has written articles on child development and worked on IEPs for families in Chicago Public Schools.
  • Ndona Muboyayi is a D65/D202 alum, parent, and fifth-generation Evanstonian. A financial business consultant, she is also on the civic engagement committee of the Evanston NAACP.

— A homophobic slur was left in D65 vice president Elizabeth ‘Biz’ Lindsay-Ryan’s ransacked car in January, marking the most visible episode in a pattern of racist, homophobic and derogatory harassment toward Evanston/Skokie School District 65 personnel that began shortly before the start of the school year. Superintendent Devon Horton said at a January meeting the board saw a link between recent hate attacks and district leadership’s pursuit of anti-racist policies.

— D65 school board candidates discussed support for special education students in a virtual forum held by Evanston CASE and the district’s budget deficit in a forum held by Central Street Neighbors Association. Candidates talked to The Daily about an LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum in the district. 

— Just days before Tuesday’s election, District 65 parents of color led a march to the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, encouraging community members to vote for school board candidates committed to equity. 

 

Evanston Township High School/District 202

With four positions open, the three incumbents seeking re-election will return to the board. The board will need to appoint a member to fill the open position.   

 

Key events

— The Democratic Party of Evanston released their municipal election endorsements before the Feb. 23 primaries. The organization’s endorsement process sparked controversy as residents questioned the party’s membership requirements.

— In the last weeks leading up to the April 6 election, Evanston Together LLC, a recently formed political organization, became the subject of a citywide controversy after sending a series of mailers endorsing five aldermanic candidates — four of whom are incumbents. Mayor Steve Hagerty was one of the organization’s top donors. Some of the language in the mailers mirrors wording found in an early March email sent to dozens of residents inviting them to a Zoom call to organize against “anti-incumbency” efforts.

 

Jacob Fulton and Jordan Mangi contributed reporting.

 

Email: [email protected], [email protected]

Twitter: @delaneygnelson, @maia_spoto

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