Nine 2nd Ward residents have told Mayor Daniel Biss they’d like to be the ward’s new alderperson.

Biss is scheduled to make the appointment to fill the vacancy left by the resignation last month of Ald. Peter Braithwaite, but not before a candidate forum is held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

The city has not yet released biographical information on the candidates, but here’s what we’ve been able to learn about them from online sources so far:

Keith Banks is executive director of the Reba Place Development Corporation and an agent with the Country Financial insurance company. He’s a 2000 bachelor’s degree graduate of the University of Illinois and owns a home at 2125 Washington St.

In 2013 he ran for election as Evanston Township supervisor, winning Braithwaite’s endorsement, and gaining 43% of the vote in a contest that was won by Gary Gaspard.

He’s also an ordained elder with the Restoration Christian Fellowship in Skokie where his wife Rosemarie Banks is pastor.

Darlene Cannon, 53, of 1317 Pitner Ave., ran for the 2nd Ward aldermanic position in 2021, losing to Braithwaite by a 53% to 47% margin. A community activist, she’s on the board of the Citizens’ Network of Protection.

Matthew Farrauto, 49, of 1322 Dewey Ave., is a political consultant who holds a bachelor’s degree in political theory from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in public management from Johns Hopkins.

Patricia Gregory, of 1139 Fowler Ave., is a physical education teacher at Lincoln Elementary School. She’s also a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Board.

Kristian Harris, 53, of 2216 Greenwood St., is manager of student life at Oakton Community College and a former board member of the YWCA Evanston/North Shore. She has a master’s degree in higher education from Illinois State University.

Blanca Lule, of 925 Grey Ave., is a project manager at Uber for Business and a former paralegal. She is a member of Evanston’s Citizens Police Review Commission and holds a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Loyola University and a master’s in healthcare law and compliance from DePaul University.

Mindy Scott is owner of Mindy City Weddings and director of development for the One Tail at a Time animal shelter in Chicago. She has a bachelor’s degree in family and community services from Michigan State University.

Anya Tanyavutti, executive director of Chicago Volunteer Doulas, is a member and former president of the District 65 school board. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Western Michigan University.

Jesus Vega is an investment advisor with PNC Financial Services and has a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University. He’s a former member of the city’s Minority, Women and Evanston Business Enterprise Development Committee and is on the board of Evanston Latinos, whose other board members include City Clerk Stephanie Mendoza and Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th).

The candidate forum, in which the would-be appointees will be interviewed by Mayor Biss, is to be held in person at the City Council chambers and over Zoom.

Residents can submit questions and comments in advance.

The person appointed will serve until the April 2023 municipal election.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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4 Comments

    1. I hope when making his decision, Mayor Biss keeps this in mind: We need a fair-minded pragmatist without an agenda on the City Council. Based on her tenure on the D65 school board, Anya Tanyavutti is a polarizing force with an agenda.

  1. Taynavutti would be a disaster. I would also add Cannon to the “no way” list. She is part of the Same Thirty People who show up to council meetings critical of basically everything.

    We need someone thoughtful and pragmatic–in the mold of Braithwaite.

    I don’t know any of the other candidates, but it would be useful to have someone with a background in law and or business to balance out the council. Right now we have Devon Reid who seems to think he’s Oliver Wendell Holmes even though he hasn’t even attended college, let alone have a law degree. And there is nobody with any business experience.

    I wasn’t a big fan of Judy Fiske, but I respected her understanding of running a small business in Evanston.

    Vega seems to have the best resume of the lot.

    1. Agreed, although someone with Gregory’s background would be an interesting and useful addition.

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