Sebastian Nalls, 20, is a candidate for mayor in the Feb. 23 Evanston primary. A junior at Purdue University, this is his first run for elected office.
Evanston Now’s Jeff Hirsh interviewed Nalls about key issues in the campaign, including police staffing, affordable housing and the city’s reparations program.
Nalls offered the following information on his background and what he views as the key issues in the campaign in response to an Evanston Now questionnaire.
I am a lifelong resident of Evanston graduating from Evanston Township High School in 2018. I attend Purdue University majoring in accounting and political science with a focus in international relations. I previously worked in the Evanston Parks and Recreation Department for six years, two of which were in an administrative role. I had the opportunity to work directly with senior level staff while having 30+ employees and volunteers underneath me. My role gave me the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of local government as I used my leadership to coordinate efforts and resources for my various programs.
This along with my past work with local organizations has allowed me to better understand every aspect of Evanston. My ability to work with many different people has culminated in a campaign team and supporter list of individuals of all different ages, religious beliefs, racial backgrounds, etc. The roadmaps we have created to tackle some of the largest issues in Evanston are ready to be implemented on day one, and I will continue my work while serving the residents of Evanston.
Racial justice starts with a push for police reform. With reallocation of funds and cost reduction due to an alternate emergency system, we can introduce increased accessibility to early childcare, youth leadership, and young adult transitional programs.
Economic development is necessary for the advancement of Evanston. First, we must talk to local businesses to understand what their wants and needs are. This will give local government an idea on what help is needed, and it will show prospective businesses a municipality that works for its local businesses. Then, I will work with the City Manager’s office to create an economic development plan that Evanston can follow for decades. This will prevent the “kicking the can down the road” mentality that has plagued our community.
It is important that we continue to address climate change in our community. The first step to start climate action in Evanston is the full funding of the Office of Sustainability, which gives it the opportunity to hire necessary staff and promote large programs and policy. Next is beginning a coordinated effort to consolidate our local advocacy groups to organize community engagement. Finally, we will begin including race and intersectionality when addressing climate change while fixing existing climate action programs.
Mixed income housing is key to keeping Evanston affordable. As Mayor, I will work toward the development of an equity based mixed income housing roadmap via collaboration of various housing experts and local advocacy groups.