Lori Keeenan Photo by Rhonda Holcomb

Activist Lori Keenan has announced her candidacy for Mayor of Evanston. She is the principal of a small, woman-owned public relations and marketing firm. Over the years, the firm has serviced clients in a variety of industries in both the commercial and not-for-profit arenas. She has worked to help launch businesses and restaurants here and in other North Shore and Chicago locations, as well as in London, where she lived for four years before moving to Evanston.

Asked by the RoundTable why she wishes to be Mayor, Ms. Keenan said, “Roughly 22 years ago my husband and I chose Evanston to raise our family because of its diversity, vibrancy and strong social voice. I believe that the time and effort you put into making our community stronger and more prosperous can make a huge difference in the lives of others.  Over the years I’ve been involved in a number of local issues, holding leadership roles and volunteering my time and skills to try to do good things for our community. While it feels like we have made some great progress, I’m worried that some of what makes Evanston special and unique has become diluted. I’d like to get us back to a place of trust where the residents feel like their voices and opinions matter. I love Evanston, and I believe it can, and should, be the best place for all of us to live.”

Her top priorities as mayor would be to protect Evanston’s diverse population of all ages, races and economic backgrounds, its independent businesses, and its natural and built environments. “Poor planning and worse decision-making have gutted the livability and affordability of our community and made everyday things – like parking, for instance – so onerous that it’s become uninviting to the people who currently live here, much less visitors.  … People, including me, are worried about losing the essence of Evanston,” Ms. Keenan said.

Evanston’s mayor, Ms. Keenan said, should be “an active leader and consensus builder across all wards – someone who can understand and represent various positions in a fair and equitable way. … That’s true on a national scale, but more critically, here at home.”

The mayor’s most important duties are making residents feel safe and feel like have been heard. “Listening, building trust and providing transparency and accountability start at the top. I would hope to amplify residents’ voices for better governance that includes the electorate in decisions that affect their lives, and our community,” she said.

The RoundTable asked Ms. Keenan how she would help ease the divisiveness in the community.

“The mayor sets the tone for the City,” Ms. Keenan said. “Like on a national level, over time many people have lost faith in our system. As people feel their voices are once again heard and represented, trust will hopefully grow and we can come together with more understanding. … Evanston is compassionate, and we are stronger together. I know that collectively, and with great commitment, we can address the issues that face us as a community, and I hope to be a strong leader for all voices to that end.”

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 Ms. Keenan the questions noted above, and she provided her responses in writing. The RoundTable asked those same questions of Sebastian Nalls and Daniel Biss, the other two declared candidates for mayor, and published their written responses with the same word limits.

We invite all persons planning to run for public office to contact the RoundTable at editor@evanstonroundtable.com.

The RoundTable  does not endorse any candidate for political office.

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...