August 22, 2016

Enhancing our Diversity

stevehagerty401Families that have had roots in Evanston for generations are being forced to leave our community. Not by choice, but because they can no longer afford to live here.  The high cost of living, combined with high property taxes and the stagnation of middle-income wages and salaries, are causing great challenges for many in our city.

We need to maintain Evanston’s diversity.  This diversity is part of our shared heritage.  Our institutions, our neighborhoods and our businesses are stronger when everyone benefits.  As Mayor, I will:

  • Work to ensure that Evanston’s minority businesses thrive – not just survive.  I will organize workshops that give Evanston minority businesses training on how to best compete for a wide variety of public and private sector projects.  I will help partner Evanston minority businesses with other leaders in their respective fields to provide technical assistance and support.  I will be an open, accessible partner and advocate for minority businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • Support and enhance local workforce development initiatives; many local industries such as health care are growing and in dire need of more skilled employees. Evanston can help match residents with the training they need to secure positions with strong, local employers – keeping businesses, jobs and tax dollars local.
  • Strengthen the Affordable Housing Fund to ensure that Evanston remains affordable to senior citizens and our residents who face financial limitations.
  • Work with local progressive leaders to oppose and roll-back Governor Rauner’s cuts to social services that are vital to many Evanstonians.  I will not be a passive bystander to the dismantling of our community’s valued social service network. I share Mayor Tisdahl’s passion in fighting against these destructive cuts to human services.  Many Evanstonians work for non-profit organizations — and programs like child care, job training, mental health services and disability assistance help many Evanstonians support their families and maintain their self-sufficiency and dignity. We should be supporting these programs and those they serve, not decimating them.
  • Utilize my decades of expertise in the field of government grant making and grant management to ensure that Evanston gets its fair share of federal resources – and uses these resources effectively.  Mayor Tisdahl and the City have done an excellent job securing federal grants to pay for things like affordable housing and human services and I look forward to building on this progress.
  • Use the communications tools available to the Mayor’s office to ensure that residents in need of services know about them.  I will educate seniors, veterans, the disabled and those with low-incomes about tax reductions they may be eligible for and I would work with partners like the Erie Health Center to promote programs such as Home Energy Assistance and free rides for Seniors.
  • Expand Evanston’s business tax base through community-based economic development; this will help ease the burden on residential property tax payers. High property taxes – which are not progressive – are making it difficult for many longtime Evanstonians to stay in their home and we need to do all we can to make Evanston more – not less – affordable.

Find out more about my stance on issues that I believe are important to Evanston here: