Biographies of the mayoral candidates


Evanston Now has written a lot in recently days about where the five candidates in next Tuesday’s mayoral primary stand on the issues. But here’s a look at what they did before deciding to run for mayor.

Gary Gaspard

Gary Gaspard, 54, was born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and has lived in Evanston since emigrating to the United States in 1982.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Northeastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in social service administration from the University of Chicago.


He’s a faculty advisor at Northeastern Illinois University and teaches classes in social work and social welfare policy.

Gaspard, who’s single, has five adult children and three grandchildren.

He describes himself as “a political junkie.”  He’s hosted radio programs targeted to the Hatiaian-American community and was the last elected superivisor of the former Township of Evanston.

Steve Hagerty

Steve Hagerty, 48, was born in Massachusetts and graduated from Attleboro High School. He received a bachelors’ degree from Syracuse University and a master’s of public administration degree from Syracuse.

He’s lived in Evanston 17 years and is the founder and president of Hagerty Consulting, a business with more than 100 employees that helps communities prepare for and recover from disasters.

He’s married and has two children.

He’s a former president of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce and is on the board of Youth & Opportunity United and of Evanston-based First Bank & Trust.

He chaired the mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Harley Clarke mansion.

His hobbies include youth sports, reading and exercise.

Brian Miller

Brian Miller, 37, was born in Evanston and graduated from Evanston Township High School. He received a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and a law degree from Northwestern.

He’s lived in Evanston nearly 30 years and, in addition to being 9th Ward alderman, is chief of staff to Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin. He previously worked as a community organizer and in mostly public-sector legal positions.

Miller is married and has two pre-school age children.

He’s a former president of the Democratic Party of Evanston and co-chaired the Camp Echo Committee of the McGaw YMCA.

His hobbies include scuba diving, barbecuing and music.

Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith, 60, was born in Chicago and graduated from Maine South High School in Park Ridge. He received a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a law degree from Harvard.

He’s lived in Evanston 33 years and has spent most of his professional career as a general practice attorney in Evanston. He’s been married for 35 years and has two grown children who attended Evanston public schools and one grandchild.

He also served as chief general counsel for the state Department of Natural Resources late in the Quinn administration and as an assistant corporation counsel for the City of Chicago.

He was a founder of the Central Street Neighbors Association and has been a board member of the Democratic Party of Evanston and has been a frequent speaker at public meetings in town for over 25 years.

His hobbies include photography, gardening and playing the guitar.

Mark Tendam

Mark Tendam, 61, was born and raised in Hamilton, Ohio. He received a bachelor’s degree in design from the University of Cincinnati.

He’s lived in Evanston for nearly 23 years. After working for several design and public relations firms in Chicago he launched his own business, Tendam Design, in 1989.

He and his husband have been together for almost 27 years.

Tendam, who’s been 6th Ward alderman since 2009, is the former board president of Better Existence with HIV, and a former board member of the Democratic Party of Evanston and the McGaw YMCA.

Editors’ Picks