I think Evanston is a special place to live, work, and raise a family. My wife, Lisa Altenbernd, and I could have settled anywhere in this country, yet we made a conscious decision to live here. Why? There were the obvious reasons – the proximity to Lake Michigan and Chicago, the vibrant business districts, the good schools, the steady and rising property values, Northwestern University, the arts, the interesting mix of people, the socioeconomic and racial diversity, and the progressive thinking and social consciousness of the residents. Less obvious but equally important to us – two professionals who graduated with Master’s Degrees in Public Administration – was that the challenges in Evanston seemed manageable, particularly given the resources, talent, compassion, knowledge, and love that exists in this community.
The pride and engagement that people have in this City is unmatched. I have traveled extensively throughout the United States and seldom have I encountered a community whose sense of itself is so deeply rooted. This sense of who we are – socially conscious, just, independent yet part of a whole, sustainable, empathetic, diverse, hardworking, and fair – comes with high expectations. It means we can find ourselves leading the cities of the world in environmental stewardship, yet wondering why we aren’t able to do more to curb gun violence, close the achievement gap, and solve seemingly easier problems like a mansion in disrepair on the Lake.
As Mayor, I will lead. I will encourage and promote citizen engagement. I will connect people and organizations. I will support open and informed debate that covers all points of view. I will set a standard of civil and respectful discourse, emphasizing that while opinions may vary, everyone wants what they think is best for Evanston. I will voice my opinion. I will push for the Council to make a decision. I will be magnanimous when my point of view is accepted and gracious when it does not. I will work effectively with Council members to understand concerns of their Ward, and help them navigate the needs of their constituents with the needs of Evanston at-large.
As Mayor, I will leave behind a City that thrives.
- A City Council and Government that is structured and consistent in its decision making.
- A City that is financially sound and economically vibrant throughout all of town.
- A City whose school system revenue is considered when making economic development decisions.
- A City where all parts – government, non-profit, education, the University, and business – are more focused, collaborative, and efficient in addressing infrastructure and human service needs.
- A City that remains a leader to the world in environmental stewardship.
- A City where all its residents feel safe, secure, and hopeful.
- A City that is economically and racially diverse and offers opportunity to all its residents.
- A City where all businesses, including minority and woman owned, thrive.
- A City where the largest landowner (Northwestern) is respectful to our tax base, it’s neighbors, and our residents’ opinions, and where the residents are welcoming of all that NU and their students offer to make Evanston the City it is.
- A City where injustices are called out and rectified.
Evanston is truly a unique and special place on this earth. I would be grateful for the opportunity to apply my life and work experience, along with my passion for Evanston and good government, to help lead this great City of ours.