What makes our neighborhoods so special that people choose to make Ward 6 home, whether for 5 generations or just in the last 5 years? It's about the neighborhood around you being an extension of your front steps – with great schools you can walk to, local businesses that know you by name, parks & playgrounds for your family. But its a vision we have to fight for - making sure all of our neighborhoods have the amenities residents need, while protecting everyone's ability to live, work and raise a family in our neighborhoods.
I believe Ward 6 can be a model for the city. We are the largest ward in the city and one that celebrates a great diversity of people and neighborhoods, unified by a shared vision of our future. As your next Councilmember, I will make a priority to build upon the success of our neighborhood elementary schools to tackle middle school reforms; to fight for new ideas that keep residents in their homes as they age in their neighborhoods; to ensure affordable housing isn’t an afterthought, but is a starting point in the conversation; and to continue the growth of our small businesses and entrepreneurs that become the backbone and job creators in our communities.
Quality Education for All And a Focus on our Middle Schools
Great neighborhoods have great schools from early education and pre-K through high school. I’m proud of our work with parent and school communities, as Ward 6 elementary schools have led the way for school reform. Our work is not done yet and I will also take the same energy – and urgency – to transform our middle schools. With a $98 million renovation, and one of the best principals on the East Coast, Eastern High School is on the right track to return as a school of choice. But it’s the bridge between elementary and high school that will determine our success at reforming the school system, preparing students to succeed, and instilling the confidence of our parents.
Age-Friendly Neighborhoods That Seniors Continue to Call Home
The District is keeping and attracting seniors, boomers and empty nesters at a growing rate. And it’s not surprising why; the city is a great place to live, work and retire. But making sure older residents can continue to call their neighborhood home requires hard work. Working with civic organizations such as Capitol Hill Village and others, I will fight for an age-friendly city that creates an accessible environment with neighborhood-based healthcare. Our shared commitment must be a long-term quality of life that supports successful aging and keeps all residents a vibrant and active part of our community.
Growing Small Businesses and Supporting Entrepreneurs
DC – and Ward 6 in particular – is a great place to do business. When the city invests its resources and planning the right way, small business growth can follow. Since 2006, over 150 new businesses have been created on H Street NE – most locally owned and generating over 1,500 new jobs. From grocery stores to pharmacies, fitness studios to furniture stores, pet shops to great restaurants, I have partnered with H Street businesses to support entrepreneurs and change the way the District helps small businesses grow. We need to take this success and expand it throughout Ward 6 – especially in Southwest, Shaw and Hill East. Working with CHAMPS, our local chamber of commerce, I’ve helped reduce regulatory burdens, fees and barriers in growing our small businesses. Ward 6 and DC is a great place to do business, but we have more to do to support the businesses, the risk takers and the job creation that comes from thriving small businesses.
Fighting for Ethics and Accountability in Government
Our elected leaders in the District have to stop being selfish, and start solving problems. Too many people talk about making a change, but that alone isn’t enough. You have to be willing to make hard decisions and to lead by example. This is exactly what I’ve done and promise to continue to do as your councilmember. At the Council, I worked with Tommy to stand apart from the pack and stand up to special interests. I will continue to fight to end the pay-to-play culture that has plagued our city. And in this campaign, we’ll live by the reforms we are calling for and only accept contributions from individuals. Because I want to see a name on every check and you deserve to as well.
Creating and Preserving Affordable Housing
Not enough focus has been placed on creating family-based affordable housing. To help protect and preserve the diversity of our communities, we must put a focus on growing affordable housing that can serve families, not just individuals with new studio apartments and one-bedrooms. Successful projects like the Ellen Wilson Dwellings and Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Housing Redevelopment in Southeast prove we can do it when we don’t make affordable housing an afterthought. I want to push for more creative solutions to ensure new development projects include family-based affordable housing, and that we better preserve the housing that already exists. For the senior on a fixed income, or the family still struggling to make ends meet, our neighborhoods have to be a place that everyone can call home.
Expanding Great Transit Options; Connecting Neighborhoods
As a one-car household, our family lives by the term “multi-modal”. Like so many others, we need options to move around our neighborhood. Whether by foot, bicycle, bus, Metro, BikeShare, Car2Go, Uber, or any number of other options – it’s the abundance of choices that make transit work. I will work to expand BikeShare throughout every neighborhood; to ensure our Metro system works for all residents with dependable, affordable, and convenient bus and rail service that connects neighborhoods, rather than out of town commuters; to improve our city’s taxi system and support entrepreneurs like Uber that enter the market; and will push aggressively for the full scale-up of our DC Streetcar system, not just along H Street NE, but in other neighborhoods that create links to downtown and beyond.
Prioritizing Parks and Public Spaces
One of the greatest parts of living in our neighborhoods is that your home extends well beyond your front steps. Whether the pocket park down the block, the green space in the nearest park, or the waterfront parks and islands, we have great spaces that extend our front yards throughout the city. I’m incredibly proud of the work I’ve done with Ward 6 to help bring about parks like Yards Park and Canal Park, in pushing for funding that will bring parks to the NoMa neighborhood, and adding community gardens and playgrounds to recreation centers, schools and public spaces. But as Ward 6 continues to grow, so does our green space needs. Not only do we need more playgrounds, community gathering places, and athletic fields, we need spaces that accommodate all our residents – from the very young to the very old, and everything in between.
Protecting a Safety Net for All Neighbors
I’ve made building and protecting a strong safety net, especially for our most vulnerable neighbors, a priority in my career. Everyone deserves a city that looks out for one another; especially the lost and left behind. As policy director for the DC Primary Care Association, I worked to reform health care in the city by expanding access to primary and hospital care for the uninsured and strengthened the network of health clinics across our city. I brought innovative programs to the District to place doctors, nurses, dentists and mental health professionals in underserved neighborhoods. I believe DC shares that value to protect our all our neighbors and the city needs a leader that is committed to continuing reforms for a stronger safety net.
Safe Streets and Safe Neighborhoods
Ward 6 has experienced one the biggest drops in violent crime in the city; but even one crime is one too many. Partnering with our police district commanders and community leaders, we’ve seen smarter policing respond more quickly with great results. I believe that great policing is one part of the answer, but by itself, relies on a crime taking place and a victim suffering a loss. We must work to create safe and well-lit streets alongside active blocks that don’t tolerate illegal activity. And when reforms are needed, I will move quickly with new laws, such as our recent action to tackle “used” smartphone sales when MPD exposed the devastating cycle of smartphone theft and sales for cash.