9th Ward aldermanic candidates address the community in forum


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

The Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center. As the city finalizes the city manager process in the coming weeks, Evanston’s cohort of leaders new to politics continues to expand.

Olivia Alexander, Assistant City Editor

The seven 9th Ward aldermanic candidates discussed their key issues and plans to communicate with residents in a Thursday forum led by Mayor Daniel Biss at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center.  Biss will appoint his choice on Feb. 22, and City Council will vote to confirm his selection the following Monday

Following introductions, Biss asked candidates to describe how they plan to engage with 9th ward residents. 

Juan Geracaris

Juan Geracaris, who first moved to Evanston to attend Northwestern, serves as Evanston Latinos’ vice president and founded skateboarding organization Evanston Skates. Geracaris has lived in the ward for 14 years. 

“When I thought about this position, one of the things I really thought was important was to make people feel like the city is working for them,” Geracaris said. 

Geracaris said he’ll explain his voting decisions to residents after each council meeting and make regular ward meetings a priority. He also said he’ll emphasize access to meetings for residents who are not native English speakers, as City Council currently doesn’t have interpreters.

When asked which issue he was most excited to lead on, Geracaris said keeping Evanston affordable. 

Stacia Campbell

Candidate Stacia Campbell moved to Evanston from southern California. She works as an Americorps college counselor at the Beyond Sports Foundation. 

To Campbell, transparency and access are the foundation for communication. She said she hopes to be active on social media to exchange information with residents. 

When asked which issue she is most excited to lead on, Campbell said she’ll prioritize environmental justice and use her past experiences leading job searches to participate actively in the city manager search. 

Kathelyn Hayes

Before her recent retirement, Evanston native Kathelyn Hayes worked in Cook County government for 24 years. She said she believes in office hours, social media and community workshops. 

Hayes also said some residents might need privacy and empathy, and as their councilmember, she would make herself accessible to the community outside of ward meetings and town halls. 

Dan Coyne

Dan Coyne moved to Evanston thirty years ago and works as a therapist in Evanston/Skokie School District 65. 

He said he hopes to follow in Fleming’s footsteps with regular communication and monthly ward meetings, but similarly to Hayes, he wants to prioritize addressing residents’ individual needs.

When asked which issue he is most excited to lead on, Coyne picked affordable housing. Ensuring community members can buy a home is the surest way to pass on generational wealth, he said. 

Shawn Jones

Christopher Shawn Jones ran for City Council and lost to Fleming in 2017. He practices law and has reported on City Council for The Evanston Roundtable. 

Jones said he hopes to communicate with residents through a message board. Former Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) used this method in the past, and he said he would like to implement a similar system in the 9th Ward. 

Jones said his passion is small business development, and on the Council, he would be committed to creating a more robust Downtown Evanston. 

“We have an opportunity to have a brand new, vibrant, exciting downtown Evanston that people want to come to,” Jones said. “We have a new movie theater coming in. It gives us a real opportunity.” 

Frederic Goodwill

Frederic Goodwill has lived in the 9th Ward for 17 years and has a background in law. He said he’ll use approaches from his law practice to communicate with residents and advocate on their behalf.

Goodwill said he hopes to carry on Fleming’s legacy of continuous communication and accessibility. Spending time with his neighbors and hearing their needs will be important to his City Council career, he said. Affordable housing and environmental justice are the issues he is most ready to address. 

Sebastian Nalls

Sebastian Nalls, a 21-year-old Purdue University student, ran for Evanston mayor in 2021 and has since become a community activist in Evanston. Nalls said he’ll hold weekly office hours and individual appointments with residents. He will also prioritize bringing marginalized communities into political processes. 

“17% of the 9th Ward is Black and 13% of Hispanic descent,” Nalls said. “These are two large communities that are in the 9th Ward and throughout Evanston. We have an opportunity to engage them more so in the political process that they’ve been left out of historically.”

Nalls said his priority is affordability, in housing and for early childcare. 

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