One of Chicago’s most populous suburbs is soon to have a leader who’s familiar statewide. Former state legislator and gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss won the election for mayor of Evanston this week with nearly 74% of the vote.
Biss, who takes office on May 10, says COVID-19 response will be a priority – including through Evanston’s Health Department, , which the city government oversees. And he says the economic recovery will be a key piece as well.
“There are plenty of empty storefronts in Evanston. There’s a tremendous concern about the small businesses that really give Evanston some of its offbeat feel. The recovery and the repopulation of those storefronts is going to be critical for our community,” Biss said.
During the campaign, Biss promoted issues such as reevaluating which calls social workers or mental health care providers might respond to rather than police, and touted his support for strengthening Evanston’s reparations program.
“But there’s lots more,” Biss said. “If you look at that the way that zoning codes have been designed, they were designed to enforce economic, and to some extent racial, segregation. That needs to be rolled back. If you look at inclusionary housing policies, they can be expanded and improved to allow for not just the diversity that we like to talk about, but integration as well.”
Since leaving the state legislature, Biss has worked on climate change issues, which he sees as key to Evanston’s future – even though he acknowledges the problems are global.
“Every municipality, every individual needs to do what we can to can,” Biss said. “I don’t want to pretend that the city of Evanston’s going to solve climate change by itself, but the fact that we can’t unilaterally fix everything doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try. Instead it means that we have a responsibility to do what we can, because no one entity can do it all.”