As President Obama urged before leaving office, “If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.”
DC is growing. No doubt about that. So is the Ward. You just have to walk down East Capitol. Look north. Look south. Cranes as far as the eye can see. The same can be said for South Capitol, looking both east and west.
However, growth comes with growing pains. It is not enough to solve current problems. We must also find ways to prepare for the future and prevent issues before they arise.
One way to do that is to take a holistic approach to governing: looking at the big picture and seeing how everything is connected. Everyone has their own priorities. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as each promotes a common goal.
The goal for Ward 6 and for the District as a whole should be fostering a strong, thriving community where everyone who wants to live in DC, who dreams of working here, and who seeks to make it his or her home can.
I do not believe our current elected officials are making this a reality. They focus on their own pet projects that benefit a select few. They listen to only those who think the way they do. They only legislate in the present and do not consider how the new laws may impact future growth.
It is time for another voice on the Council. I don’t have all the answers. Nor do I claim to. But I have a different perspective. Another way to look at problems and propose more efficient and effective solutions.
My priority is community. Black, white, gay, straight, old, young, DC is yours. Whether your roots are already established or they are just being planted, you should not have to choose between DC or the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. Whether it's housing, public safety, education, or business, DC should not make it any more difficult to raise a family or grow a business.
To get there, we must ensure:
DC should be affordable for everyone. That includes: the neighbor struggling to maintain a job; the recent college graduate who moved to the Nation’s capital to live their own “West Wing” adventure; the newly married couple starting a family together; the longtime resident nearing retirement; and the recently retired who wants to stay and continue to enjoy all that DC has to offer. How is this accomplished? Working with all stakeholders. Talking to the developers and the landlords. The renters and the home buyers. The banks, the community groups, and our small businesses. We need to hear from everyone. We need to understand where people want to live, how they want to live, and what they can reasonably pay to live there. We also need to hear what it takes to build, manage, and maintain housing in the District. We know there is shortage of housing, especially affordable housing. We need to all work together to find a solution.
We shouldn’t be worried about stray bullets and random actions of violence. Yes, DC is a large city. But we could do a better job of protecting our neighbors. To do this, we need to make sure our police are not only fully funded but also fully supported. We need to make sure the police force is at capacity. And we need our police officers to not only be from DC but also willing to work with the community to solve our most difficult problems. What better way to protect our community than by having members of the community protect it. We can do better. We must do better.
We need to take care of those residents who make our neighborhoods a better place. We need to ensure that teachers, first responders, and all District employees have the means to live where they seek to make better. It does not make sense for individuals to spend 40+ hours per week serving DC and our communities to then be forced to leave DC every night because they cannot afford to live here. We need that to change.
The District has made significant gains in the area of education over the past decade. But we can do more. School choice is important to this goal. I have no doubt that neighborhood schools have improved because of the public charter school program and the My School DC lottery. When parents can choose what type of education their children have, schools must improve to stay in existence. Choice also allows for different types of schools. And, more importantly, for different needs to be addressed.
Ward 6 is booming with local, small businesses. Many have opened in the past few years. We now need to ensure that these businesses can continue to thrive. This means more common sense and efficient rules and regulations. We want our business owners growing their business and reaching out to the community. We do not want them spending all of their time filling out paperwork for the District. Government alone cannot solve all of our problems. We therefore need our residents to think outside the box and, through innovation and technology, help fight some of our toughest problems.
If I am fortunate to earn your vote, I will continue listening to all voices. I will encourage all members of the Ward 6 community to engage in constructive conversation. I will also listen to your concerns and do my best to assist you in resolving life’s daily problems, whether large or small. I will work full-time to ensure that DC’s government is working for all residents, not just those that donate money or are politically connected.
These are just some of my priorities. If you have others and thoughts about these, please email me at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from all voices about how we can foster community in Ward 6 and DC.