September 24, 2016

My Governing Principles

In my 23-year professional career working closely with federal, state, and local governments, I have developed a general philosophy towards governing.

1.  A strong social fabric helps communities weather bad times. In Evanston, we are fortunate. We live in a community that is rich in talent, knowledge, financial resources, and compassion. Those that came before us worked hard to build a community that is fair, just, welcoming, tolerant, and caring. As Mayor I will work with leaders throughout this community to tighten the bonds and relationships that hold us together; that will help us weather difficult moments; and help us be a national leader to other cities.

stevehagerty2712.  Neighbors want to be heard. We are all neighbors. When change is proposed in OUR neighborhood we want to know beforehand. We want a say in the process. We don’t like to be caught off guard. One of Evanston’s greatest assets is citizen engagement. As Mayor, I will make every effort to (1) offer and promote forums for community input, (2) be forward looking and anticipate legitimate issues that ought to be addressed, (3) look at our history to understand the relevant background, and (4) proactively communicate both problems and opportunities to the community in order to help everyone understand why changes may be necessary.

3.  Taxpayers want their elected officials to consider the community-at-large. Evanston is a finely tuned ecosystem. This is not a city that is off track. In fact, we are admired by many across the country. However, most residents realize that if we don’t change and adapt we risk our taxes increasing, services declining, property values stagnating, and our schools suffering. Even if we wanted to, there are too many external factors at play for us to say Evanston is “good enough.”

As Mayor, I will always consider what I think is best for Evanston as a whole so that we remain a culturally rich and diverse community with great schools, a government that is responsive, a non-profit community that is thriving, and a business community that is dynamic and vibrant.

4.  After community discussion, citizens want government to make decisions. There’s nothing more frustrating than endless debates which only serve to delay needed decision making. If neighbors are properly heard and if the pros, cons, and alternatives of issues are properly discussed, people generally accept that – in a democracy – real choices must be made. As Mayor, I will stress the importance of progress and decision-making; emphasizing when necessary that when we delay decisions we make problems worse and divert our focus on equally important matters.


city-council-meeting-harley-clarke-committee-reportIn summary, as Mayor, I will make sure neighbors are aware beforehand of proposed projects, that the community and City Council consider the detriments and benefits of all projects, and that a smart, sensible problem solving and decision-making process is followed. Before developing a policy on major issues I will always ask myself both “why” and “why not”? Undoubtedly, you will not agree with me 100% of the time, however, I will always communicate my reasoning.

Governing is hard work. I did not take lightly the decision to run for Mayor. I will approach this job in a professional, respectful, and inquisitive manner; always remembering that I am an Ambassador for this City. Regardless of our differing viewpoints on issues, I realize that we all aspire to “transmit this City not only not less, but greater, better, and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.” (Oath of the Athenian Citizen)