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3rd Ward aldermanic candidate: Melissa Wynne

Melissa Wynne, 64, has been alderman of Evanston's 3rd Ward since 1997 and is seeking her seventh term on the City Council.

Melissa Wynne. (Genie Lemieux photo)

Melissa Wynne, 64, has been alderman of Evanston’s 3rd Ward since 1997 and is seeking her seventh term on the City Council.

Wynne, who owns a home at 1130 Hinman Ave., and her opponent, Nicholas Korzeniowski, were interviewed about their views on major issues by Evanston Now’s Jeff Hirsh.

She also offered the following information on her background and what she views as the key issues in the campaign in response to an Evanston Now questionnaire.

Background

A 32-year Evanstonian, I’ve lived in the 3rd Ward since 1988 at 1130 Hinman, where my husband and I raised our son and daughter, sending them to Lincoln, Nichols and ETHS.

My background is as follows: after growing up in various US Navy postings around the world (including high school in Bangkok, Thailand), I studied history and public policy at Duke University. I moved after college to Washington, D.C., where I worked at Common Cause and for a Democratic congressman on Capitol Hill. I then moved to Chicago for Northwestern Law School. After graduating law school, I specialized in environmental law and provided pro bono legal aid at the Howard Area Community Center to low-income families facing eviction, divorce, and spousal abuse.

Prior to the Council, I served on Evanston’s Environmental Board, revived and led a Lincoln School Girl Scout Troop, was a very active Lincoln School PTA member and served as co-President of the Nichols School PTA.

This background experience was valuable preparation for the Council. It taught me to master complex public policy issues, and it instilled in me the paramount importance of respectful, responsive and transparent client service. But most important is what I’ve learned over the years from the 3rd Ward’s extraordinarily diverse, intelligent and engaged residents. That is why I was the first alderman to hold quarterly Town Hall ward meetings and regular monthly office hours, and that is why I live by the motto, “Always be willing to listen.”

Key issues

The key challenges we face are all urgent: post-COVID recovery, affordability, and climate action. Here, briefly, is how I will address each.

For a robust economic recovery, I strongly support relocating Evanston government buildings downtown, in order to generate consumer traffic for local restaurants and shops. We also need a new recovery fund to support workforce development, entrepreneurship, and minority business growth and retention.

I’d tackle our affordability crisis by using underutilized properties for family-sized affordable housing, and zoning that permits rental of accessory dwelling units so that homeowners can also afford to stay in Evanston. We also need to expand on the walkable streetscape initiatives I’ve long promoted. Walkability promotes small business growth and connects families to amenities and resources that improves their quality of life. That’s why I helped open local shops and venues such as Homestead Meats, Frio Gelato, Sketchbook Brewing, Few Spirits, and Union/Space, while leveraging Main-Dempster TIF funds for new sidewalks and street lighting.

Finally, I’ll continue my strong advocacy for Evanston’s national leadership in climate and sustainability initiatives. We must remain laser-focused on achieving our ambitious 2025 and 2030 goals for waste diversion, reduced building energy use, and renewable electricity. We should expand the City’s Residential Rehab program, which provides funds to low-income residents to repair, retrofit and weatherize their homes for climate resiliency. And we must always be vigilant in preserving and protecting the cherished natural asset of our parks, beaches and lakefront.

Website and social media

Campaign website, Facebook campaign page.

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