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An Evanston resident for more than a decade, Daniel Biss has announced that he is planning to run for Mayor of the City of Evanston. He is currently a consultant for the Energy Foundation.
The RoundTable asked Mr. Biss five questions about his candidacy. His answers appear below.
Asked why he wishes to be Mayor of Evanston, Mr. Biss said, “We’re experiencing a long-overdue national reckoning on issues of racial justice, policing, and segregation — and Evanston is a progressive community that wants to be at the forefront of addressing these subjects. It would be an honor to spend the next four years helping our community make critical but difficult strides toward justice, and to lead our neighbors down that same path.”
His top priorities, he said would include racial justice, economic justice and sustainability. “There’s no question that racial justice writ large — including questions of policing, housing, affordability and more — must be at the top of the list. Other key priorities will include economic justice, sustainability (especially regarding climate change), responsible budgeting, and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic (to me, this means restoring what the pandemic has cost us both economically and socially).
The Mayor’s foremost duty, Mr. Biss said, “is to bring all of Evanston together. This means bringing in all voices to formulate a bold vision for our city, and then working relentlessly in pursuit of that vision. The Mayor must also lead the City Council to ensure that it is both a highly functioning legislative body and an effective instrument to transmit concerns from all nine wards. Finally, the Mayor must communicate very clearly and transparently with residents to ensure that when the City acts, everyone has a clear understanding of what is happening and why it’s happening — and this has to be done in a timely manner so that residents can weigh in when it still matters.”
The final question was this: “The Evanston community seems to be very divided and on edge right now. What sorts of things do you think would help ease these things?”
Mr. Biss responded, “The most important thing is to give everyone a seat at the table. Evanston is home to plenty of skilled and experienced advocates, which is a blessing, but that sometimes means that other voices get ignored.
“I’ll make sure to seek out and lift up the voices of those who are sometimes shut out of our process. It’s also essential to set up the policy discourse in such a way that nobody is cast as an outsider, because when people feel like they aren’t being heard, disappointment can quickly turn into frustration, anger, and worse. I think those who disagreed with me during my time as a legislator would say that while I have plenty of strong opinions, I also genuinely appreciate being pushed hard — and learn from it and sometimes evolve as a result.”
The petitioning period for the April 6, 2021, Primary Consolidated election began Aug. 25, with filing to take place between Nov. 16 and 23. As part of its mission to educate the public on the candidates for local offices in a non-partisan manner, the Evanston RoundTable asked Mr. Biss the questions noted above, and he provided his responses in writing. The RoundTable will ask those same questions of each candidate for Mayor and publish their written responses with the same word limits.
We invite all persons planning to run for Mayor to contact the RoundTable at email@example.com.
The RoundTable does not endorse any candidate for political office.