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Crowded field vying for 2nd Ward vacancy

With the unanimous appointment of Luke Stowe as permanent city manager, the highest vacancy in the Evanston’s government became the 2nd Ward City Council seat – and a number of people are throwing their hats into the ring.

There is a crowded field to replace 2nd Ward City Council Member Peter Braithwaite, who recently resigned. (Photo by Genie Lemieux)

Twelve candidates put in online applications for the post by the time the process closed Friday, Aug. 12, according to Mayor Daniel Biss. Residents of the 2nd Ward were invited to apply beginning July 15, when former Council Member Peter Braithwaite officially resigned.

Biss said one candidate withdrew and the city will release the full list after his office has verified all the candidates.

Who will choose the City Council member?

As when Juan Geracaris was selected to fill the 9th Ward seat after Cicely Fleming’s resignation, the mayor will appoint a candidate from the applicant pool pending a confirmation vote by a majority of sitting council members.

The newly-appointed member will then serve Braithwaite’s term through spring 2023, when both they and Geracaris will have to run in special elections for the remaining two years of the term.

Two applicants have publicly announced their candidacies: Darlene Cannon and Anya Tanyavutti.

Darlene Cannon is a community organizer who sits on the boards of the Democratic Party of Evanston, Citizens Network of Protection and Reclaim Evanston, as well as the city’s Equity and Empowerment Commission. She ran against the incumbent Braithwaite in 2021, ultimately finishing 71 votes short.

Activist Darlene Cannon, who ran a close second for 2nd Ward City Council seat, is seeking the vacancy for the position. Credit: Robert Seidenberg

She announced her intent to apply for the vacancy on Facebook on July 1, two weeks before the form opened.

“The 2nd Ward needs a representative who is committed to working efficiently and collaboratively with our residents, fellow council members, and city staff; a council member who will always put Evanstonians first,” Cannon wrote in her announcement. “I want to be that voice for the 2nd Ward.”

Anya Tanyavutti has been a member of the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education for six years, and previously served as the board’s president and vice president. After being appointed to fill a vacant position in 2016, she won the remainder of the term in 2017 and a full new term in 2019. She announced her application on Facebook on Aug. 12, the same day the form closed.

Anya Tanyavutti

“I believe in our community, when we link arms and put our collective and highest selves to work on an issue, we can get it right,” Tanyavutti wrote in her announcement, “These are the reasons why I am so excited to throw my hat in the ring for elderperson – I believe there is opportunity to further the conversation of how Evanston can and should meet the needs of all of its residents, especially its most vulnerable.”

If Tanyavutti is appointed 2nd Ward council member, she would resign from the District 65 board.

Community and Employee Engagement Coordinator Jessie Mayo told the RoundTable that the public meeting for applicants to present themselves to the community is still being scheduled. The City Council is expected to vote on the mayor’s selection on Monday, Sept 12.

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