Letter to the Editor: The best candidate for Evanston’s mayor

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Throughout the current campaign for mayor, Daniel Biss has emphasized his record in Illinois politics as the reason why he is the best candidate. However, a closer look at that record shows Biss is not the progressive candidate he claims to be.

As stated in a March 2018 Chicago Tribune article, Biss co-sponsored a bill to cut pension benefits for state workers, voted to cut Medicaid benefits and voted to give millions in tax incentives to corporations. According to the Evanston RoundTable, his vote to support SB-16 in 2014 would cause “District 65 [to] lose 85% of its State funding or $6.5 million per year. School District 202 would lose 81% of its funding, or $2.2 million per year.” In 2014, he explained his rationale for some of these stances by saying, “I don’t mean to sound so crass, but everybody in the General Assembly has lots of teachers in their district,” and further, “as a matter of politics, I can get away with really offending state employees because I don’t represent that many of them.”

Biss’ contempt for his constituents was again on display during the January 2021 RoundCast forum, when he said library board seats should not be elected positions because in other suburbs, few often run for those seats and voters tend to be uneducated about the candidates. He said he was skeptical, then, “of adding new elected offices for roles where I’m not confident there would be a real active community discussion.”

In that same forum, Biss defended his fundraising for this election, at a time when his campaign contributions to date beat his closest rival by $102,000. This is despite saying during his run for governor, “For too long our broken system has allowed the wealthy to have unfettered access to the decision-makers in our government… That’s what breeds corruption.” In an April 2018 Daily Northwestern article, Biss mentioned how political finance had pushed people in need of representation away and had silenced their voices. He encouraged Evanston voters — many of whom are progressive — to engage in efforts to remove big money from the city’s politics down the line.

There is a message circulating in state Democratic circles that this is Dan Biss’ time, that victory in his 5th run for public office should be low-hanging fruit. But as Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Dan Biss doesn’t deserve this, and Evanston deserves better.

I support Lori Keenan for Evanston’s mayor. Keenan is not a politician. She is an engaged citizen who has already played an instrumental role in making our city better in many ways. I trust her to speak the truth and do what’s right for all Evanstonians. She understands Evanston issues, having been active at the grassroots level for 20+ years. Keenan has a long track record of showing up, standing up and speaking the truth in the name of better city government. Her work with the library branches, small businesses, local foundations, on the Harley Clarke initiative and the construction of the Church Street pumping station are just a few of the issues with which she has been involved. These are local issues, Evanston issues — not state-wide issues. Keenan is a real voice for the people, which is what Evanston truly needs right now.

It is for these reasons that I hope you will join me in voting for Lori Keenan in the mayoral primary on February 23rd.

— Shaun Waldron

If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]

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via The Daily Northwestern

February 19, 2021 at 08:42AM

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