Steve Hagerty

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Steve Hagerty
21st Mayor of Evanston, Illinois
In office
May 8, 2017 – May 10, 2021
Preceded byElizabeth Tisdahl
Succeeded byDaniel Biss
Personal details
Born1968/1969 (age 53–54)
Attleboro, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic[1]
Spouse(s)Lisa Altenbernd
ChildrenCaroline and Garrett Hagerty
ParentsJohn Hagerty and Charlotte Edgecombe
ResidenceEvanston, Illinois
Alma materSyracuse University

Stephen H. Hagerty (born 1968/1969) is an American businessman and politician. He was the 21st mayor of Evanston, Illinois from May 8, 2017 to May 10, 2021.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Hagerty grew up in Attleboro, Massachusetts. As a teenager, he worked on his family's farm, as well as at the local YMCA and as a paper boy for his local newspaper, The Sun Chronicle.[3] While attending Attleboro High School, Hagerty played as the only boy on the all-girls field hockey team before graduating in 1987.[4] Hagerty attended Syracuse University, receiving a degree in Consumer Studies in 1991, and earned his Master of Public Administration from Syracuse's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in 1993.[5] He moved to Evanston with his wife, Lisa Altenbernd, in 2001.[6]


Hagerty worked in the Office of Government Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers, consulting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, before founding his own emergency management firm, Hagerty Consulting, in 2001.[7] After the September 11 attacks, Hagerty and his firm managed the federal government's $7.4 billion public assistance fund.[6] Hagerty Consulting also assisted in rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina.[8]

Hagerty's involvement in the Evanston community included seats on the Boards of Directors of Youth & Opportunity United, a youth development agency, and of local financial institution First Bank & Trust.[9][10] He also served as president of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce.[11] In 2015, Hagerty chaired a city committee to explore options for the dilapidated Harley Clarke Mansion, a source of political controversy.[12]

Mayoral campaign[edit]

Lawn signs for Hagerty (center) and other Evanston candidates in February 2017

After Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl announced her decision not to run for a third term,[13] Hagerty announced his candidacy for mayor on October 18, 2016, becoming the third candidate out of an eventual five.[14] His status on the ballot was briefly threatened by an objection from fellow candidate Jeff Smith, who cited a 1992 city referendum changing the ballot procedure when multiple candidates run for the same office, but the electoral board dismissed the complaint.[15][16] Hagerty's campaign quickly emerged ahead in fundraising; by January 2017, it had raised over $100,000, about half of which came from Hagerty himself.[17] By March, Hagerty's campaign had raised more than all four other candidates combined.[18]

Hagerty was endorsed by three preceding mayors of Evanston: Tisdahl, Lorraine Morton, and Jay Lytle.[19][20]

Hagerty received 44.4% in the February 28, 2017 mayoral primary, advancing him to a runoff election facing sixth ward Alderman Mark Tendam, who won 20.5%.[21] Despite Hagerty's lead in the primary, the runoff election on April 4, 2017 was surprisingly close, with less than a one percent margin separating Hagerty and Tendam.[22] Tendam conceded the race six days later.[23] The final election results showed Hagerty winning by just 115 votes.[24]


Hagerty was sworn into office on May 8, 2017.[25] Members of the Evanston City Council's Rules Committee had raised concerns about a possible conflict of interest before Hagerty was sworn in, since First Bank and Trust, on whose Board of Directors Hagerty sat, was the city's financial institution, but Hagerty stepped down from the Board before taking office.[26][27]

Hagerty's immediate agenda as mayor upon assuming office included pursuing physical improvements to city facilities and working with the Cradle to Career education consortium.[28] In June, following President Donald Trump's announcement of withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, Hagerty reiterated the City's commitment to climate action, reaffirming his support of the Compact of Mayors and the Climate Mayors coalition.[29]

Following an October 2016 Cook County Board measure to gradually increase the county minimum wage to $13, many suburban municipalities passed measures overriding the wage hike just days before the first incremental increase to $10 on Saturday, July 1, 2017.[30] Hagerty called an emergency meeting of the Evanston City Council on Friday, June 30 in order to give Evanston an opportunity to temporarily do the same.[31] The announcement was met with criticism from local leaders,[32] including City Clerk Devon Reid, who stated that a minimum wage increase was not a "bona fide emergency" and therefore did not qualify for an impromptu emergency meeting under the Illinois Open Meetings Act.[33] Further, Hagerty was attacked for calling the minimum wage increase "a fiscal danger to Evanston's businesses and the City of Evanston's future tax revenues," even though he supported such an increase during his campaign.[34] At the emergency meeting, Hagerty and members of the Council announced that a vote on the override measure would not take place, expressing support for the wage increase.[35] Two months later, the Illinois Attorney General's office determined that the meeting had indeed violated the Open Meetings Act, although no remedial action was taken.[36]

Hagerty announced in October 2020 that he would not seek re-election to another term in office, making him the first mayor since 1941 to serve only a single term.[37] Hagerty was a top donor in a dark money organization that formed at the end of the 2021 Evanston election, allegedly in violation of campaign finance laws.[38]


  1. Smith, Bill (24 March 2017). "Hagerty repudiates group's endorsement". Evanston Now. Retrieved 5 February 2018. I am a Democrat, and I actively campaigned against Trump in the election through canvassing both in Evanston and in Iowa.
  2. "Mayor | City of Evanston". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  3. Flanagan, Mark (21 April 2017). "FLANAGAN: Add one more to the list of Attleboro's famous". The Sun Chronicle. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  4. Hand, Jim (17 April 2017). "Attleboro High School grad becomes mayor of Illinois city". The Sun Chronicle. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  5. "Hagerty, Steve". Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Syracuse University. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Fishman, David (3 Feb 2017). "Mayoral candidate Steve Hagerty aims to provide stability for Evanston". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  7. "Steve Hagerty". Hagerty Consulting. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  8. Davis, Eraina (17 Feb 2017). "Evanston's Mayoral Candidate: Steve Hagerty". Chicago Tribune. Chicago NOW. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  9. Gavin, Mary Helt (5 Oct 2016). "Three So Far to Run for Mayor - Evanston RoundTable". Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  10. "Stephen Hagerty: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  11. Smith, Bill (23 February 2017). "Biographies of the mayoral candidates". Evanston Now. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  12. Seidenberg, Bob (9 June 2015). "Disagreement persists in Harley Clarke Mansion debate". Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  13. Tisdahl, Elizabeth (20 Jul 2016). "Evanston Mayor on Twitter" (Tweet). Twitter. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  14. Smith, Bill (18 October 2016). "Hagerty kicks off mayoral campaign". Evanston Now.
  15. Lazzarro, Jakob (16 Jan 2017). "Your quick guide to the drama surrounding the Evanston mayoral election".
  16. Page, Marissa. "Evanston electoral board dismisses challenges to bids for mayor, clerk". The Daily Northwestern.
  17. Smith, Bill (18 January 2017). "Hagerty way in front on campaign fundraising". Evanston Now. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  18. Meadows, Jonah (1 March 2017). "Evanston Mayor's Race: Steve Hagerty Raised More Money Than All Other Candidates Combined". Evanston, IL Patch. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  19. Board, The Daily Northwestern Editorial (3 April 2017). "Editorial: The Daily Northwestern endorses Mark Tendam for Evanston mayor". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  20. Dugyala, Rishika (6 April 2017). "Elizabeth Tisdahl reflects on mayoral legacy". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  21. Bookwalter, Genevieve (1 March 2017). "Evanston's mayor, Ward 5 races move to April runoff". Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  22. "Evanston mayoral race undecided late Tuesday". Pioneer Press. 4 April 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  23. Fishman, David (10 April 2017). "Mark Tendam concedes Evanston mayoral race". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  24. Smith, Bill (25 April 2017). "No surprises in certified election results". Evanston Now. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  25. Bookwalter, Genevieve (8 May 2017). "New, reelected Evanston city leaders sworn in and seated". Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  26. "Mayor Steve Hagerty". Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  27. Gavin, Mary Helt (19 April 2017). "Rules Committee 'Revisits' Policies, Takes No Action - Evanston RoundTable". Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  28. Bookwalter, Genevieve (9 May 2017). "Evanston's new mayor: Hagerty hopes to balance job demands, home life". Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  29. Hagerty, Steve. "Evanston Remains Committed to Climate Action". Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  30. "Suburbs making last-minute attempts to opt out of Cook Co. minimum wage hike". ABC7 Chicago. 30 June 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  31. Smith, Bill (29 June 2017). "Council to vote on minimum wage hike override". Evanston Now. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  32. Wangman, Ryan (29 June 2017). "Steve Hagerty's special session on Evanston minimum wage opt-out criticized". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  33. Gavin, Larry; Gavin, Mary Helt. "Concerns Raised About OMA Violation for June 30 City Council Meeting - Evanston RoundTable". Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  34. Meadows, Jonah (29 June 2017). "Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty Calls Emergency Meeting To Block Minimum Wage Increase". Evanston, IL Patch. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  35. Bookwalter, Genevieve. "Emergency Evanston minimum wage hike meeting draws 150 people, including protesters". Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  36. Meadows, Jonah (15 August 2017). "Mayor Steve Hagerty Violated Open Meetings Act: Attorney General's Office". Evanston, IL Patch. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  37. "No Second-Term Steve: Hagerty Says He Will Not Seek Re-Election". Evanston, IL Patch. 2020-10-29. Retrieved 2021-07-06.
  38. Meadows, Jonah (2020-04-02). "Evanston Together LLC Violated Campaign Finance Laws, Filing Says". Evanston, IL Patch. Retrieved 2020-04-02. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

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