On Nov. 4, residents of the District of Columbia will decide who their seventh mayor will be. The three candidates are D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser, the Democratic Party nominee; D.C. Council member David Catania, an Independent, and former D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz, who is also an Independent. All three candidates have years of service as elected officials in the city and residents have the privilege of choosing one of these qualified individuals.
The AFRO has watched these candidates for months as they travelled across the District to make the case to voters that they should be the city’s next leader. The candidate that we endorse is one that we feel is the best person who can do the job to the best of their ability and is good for the city’s African American community.
We then wait to watch what you, the voters, decide on Election Day.
The AFRO has decided to endorse Muriel Bowser for D.C. Mayor.
Mayor, District of Columbia
Muriel Bowser has the combination of ideas, experience and perspective that the District needs for the next four years. Bowser is a native Washingtonian who has served as an advisory neighborhood commissioner and won a special election to the D.C. Council in May 2007, representing the racially and economically diverse Ward 4.
She easily won re-election in 2008 and 2012 and has distinguished herself on the council as a capable legislator by passing the city’s comprehensive ethics code for elected officials and city employees in 2011. Bowser has shown that she is willing to make tough decisions for her ward in the face of strong opposition, as was the case with the opening of the Walmart on Georgia Avenue in 2013.
Bowser’s ideas for the office have generated discussion and that is a good thing. She wants to create a deputy mayor position for East Washington. The deputy mayor will be in charge of economic development in struggling Black neighborhoods. Her educational thrust is to improve the city’s middle schools by building four new ones by 2020 and working to see that every ward has a middle school that is on par with the highly-regarded Alice Deal Middle School in Ward 3.
Bowser also wants to set up a $100 million housing fund to create more affordable housing units in the city and she wants the District to build its own public housing units instead of relying on the federal government. However, it is her goal to see District residents ultimately own their homes.
To fight unemployment, she wants companies to directly hire District residents for jobs and to set up an academy that will train the unemployed for jobs that are open in the District government.
Catania has been an impressive legislator on the D.C. Council with his successful passage of the city’s same-sex marriage law and improving the United Medical Center in Ward 8. Catania has not been afraid to speak up when he felt that District residents were being misled by city officials.
That type of behavior may be suitable in a corporate suite but in city hall, where he needs the support of community leaders and members of the council to move his political agenda forward, he will be a frustrated mayor and that is not in the best interest of the residents.
Schwartz has compelling ideas on bringing retired teachers back into the school system as mentors and advocating District-built public housing as a solution to the city’s affordable housing crisis. However, her plans for economic development are not clear and improving District residents’ way of life tends to focus on what worked in the past and not what will be needed in the future.
The AFRO encourages voters to follow its lead by supporting Bowser on Nov. 4.