By Bob Seidenberg
Kristian “Krissie” Harris in the city’s 2nd Ward and Juan Geracaris in the 9th, can finally remove their temporary status.
At the May 8 City Council meeting, Mayor Daniel Biss administered the oath of office to the two who won strong support in the May 8 special election to continue their terms as Council representatives.
Biss appointed Geracaris to represent the 9th Ward in February of 2022, following Alderperson Cicely Fleming’s announcement she would be stepping down for personal reasons.
In November of that year, Harris was appointed to represent the 2nd Ward, after Alderperson Peter Braithwaite announced he would be leaving.
In accord with state law, a special election was held to determine who would finish out the final two years of Council members terms until the next municipal election.
Candidates post strong victories
In the special election, Harris, an Oakton College educator, received 754 votes or 54.64% of the votes cast, compared to 564 votes or 39.57% for Darlene Murray-Cannon, a community advocate and member of the city’s Equity and Empowerment Commission, and 80 votes or 5.80% for Patricia Gregory, a physical education teacher in District 65 and member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Board.
In the 9th Ward, Geracaris, a senior networks system engineer at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, received 999 votes or 68.05% compared to 469 votes or 31.95% for Kathelyn “Kathy” Hayes, a former Cook County administrator.
Harris said of the process, “it was a struggle, and if you lived in
Evanston, if you paid attention to the election, it was very interesting. And I believe I have thick skin. “I was born
April 1,” she volunteered, “so you have to have thick skin.”
Geracaris, a senior engineer at Northwestern, observed that “many of you know I’m not very long-winded. So all I’m going to say is that being appointed to this position was a great honor and I’m very humbled that the citizens of Evanston elected me to stay on two more years, and I really appreciate it.”
A prayer for patience and kindness
Stephanie Mendoza, the city’s first Latino City Clerk, spoke emotionally of what Geracaris’s election signifies.
“You have that experience as a person who emigrated, a person who understands the struggle, and you do it with sensitivity and give people the respect and decency they deserve,” she said, adding: “You take a huge burden away from children, and children that have to take on that role.”
Biss, whose endorsement of Harris and Geracaris was viewed as giving their candidacies a big boost, told the two how much he’s enjoyed the opportunity working with them.
“The thing I know is most important is that I know for sure that you both make me better. I think most of the people up here on the dais would say that you make them better by asking good questions, by bringing up issues that otherwise wouldn’t have been brought up.”
Earlier in the ceremony, Reverend Dr. Michael Nabors, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church, gave the benediction before the swearing in, invoking the hope the Council members “might be able to bring unity where there is disagreement, and help members of the Evanston community…to be patient, noting that in this eight square miles every single person in Evanston has a right to say and speak their mind — and they often do. So we pray that you would give them patience and kindness.”