Sheika Reid Enters as 2nd Black Candidate

Ward 1 Council Race

by: James Wright Special to the AFRO jwright@afro.com
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D.C. Council member Brianne Nadeau, who is White, will face a challenge from another Black resident. Sheika Reid recently announced she is running for the Ward 1 council seat Nadeau currently occupies.

Sheika Reid, a native Washingtonian, has announced her bid to run for the Ward 1 Council seat. (Courtesy photo)

On Sept. 17, Reid told a gathering of about 40 supporters at the HalfSmoke restaurant that she wants to be the next council member from Ward 1. Reid said if elected she will represent all Ward 1 residents. The Democratic primary election is scheduled for June 19, 2018.

“D.C. is changing,” she said. “We are losing pieces of our community that have been around for a long time and those staples are chipping away. I have been a fighter for the underdog and will do that as a member of the D.C. Council.”

Reid is referring to longtime Black Ward 1 residents having to leave because they can’t afford to live there, particularly the elderly.

Reid is a native Washingtonian who  graduated from The Field School, a private preparatory high school located on Foxhall Road in Northwest D.C., in 2008. A member of a longtime District family, she attended Howard University for three years, but did not graduate. According to her communication’s director she intends to go back to Howard and complete coursework for a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. She has also been an activist in the community.

Reid works in the architecture field and has been engaged in activism on neighborhood issues in Ward 1. She said that as a council member, she will work to put more taxpayer dollars into building affordable housing and try to reform the parking enforcement system that many District residents say is out of control.

“If you get a parking ticket, that is $150,” Reid said. “Thirty days later, it will double to $300 and two months after the ticket, it goes to $600. Six hundred dollars is a lot of money for a ticket and I will work to change that.”

Joshua Lopez is a political activist with close ties to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D). Lopez said he supports Reid, explaining she has a “rich legacy of family” in Ward 1 and voters should consider her because “she is from Ward 1, grew up in Ward 1 and should represent Ward 1.”

Lopez sounded a note of caution, however. “She is running against an incumbent who has a lot of money,” he said.

Chioma Iwuoha has lived in Ward 1 all her life and wants Reid to represent her in the John A. Wilson Building. Iwuoha told the AFRO she is impressed with Reid as a person. “Brianne Nadeau has been in office for three years and I have only met her once,” she said. Iwuoha talked about a situation with a bar in the ward where she reached out to Nadeau’s office for assistance and wasn’t pleased with the response.

“She didn’t do anything about it,” she said. “Her office showed no initiative. As a council member, she can introduce legislation but she should also make constituents feel like you care about them.”

Nadeau told the AFRO she stands by her constituent service work and her appearances in the ward. She praised her constituent service staff’s efforts to respond to Ward 1 residents’ issues and complaints in an efficient manner.

Nadeau disagrees with Iwuoha’s assessment of her community engagement. “I am out all of the time,” the council member said. “Maybe [Reid’s supporters] don’t have time to make my events.”

Nadeau talked about “Brianne on Your Block,” which is when the councilmember goes out into the ward and speaks with residents about their issues, and her events at recreation centers and pop-ups throughout the ward.

Reid is the second African American to enter the Democratic primary against Nadeau, with former D.C. Superior Court Magistrate Lori Parker being the first. Ward 1 advisory neighborhood commissioner Kent Boese, who is White, is also in the race.

Reid told the AFRO she had no comment on Parker’s candidacy and didn’t think the two of them would split the Black vote in the ward, adding that she’s not focused on racial issues “but doing the work.”

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