By James Wright, Special to the AFRO, [email protected]
The Rev. Ralph Chittams Sr., a Republican, is fed up with the way the District of Columbia is being run by its politicians so he has decided to run for the D.C. Council to make the nation’s capital a better place to live.
“The Council needs a dissenting voice,” Chittams told the AFRO. “The Home Rule Charter states that at least two of the council’s 13 seats should go to the minority party. In D.C., that is the Republican Party.
“We have a council that has nothing but Democrats. You have two independents but they are Decepticons. David Grosso and Elissa Silverman are Democrats but they became independents two weeks before they filed to run for the city council.”
On November 6, District residents will go to the polls to decide who will serve as mayor, council chairman, attorney general and ward council members. Most of those races are foregone conclusions except the D.C. Council independent at-large race where several candidates, including incumbent D.C. Council member Elissa Silverman (I-At Large), are fighting for one of the two at-large seats available.
D.C. Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large) is running on the November general election ballot also, but she is expected to win one of the seats because of the Democrats’ immense numerical advantage in voter registration over non-Democrats.
Chittams said he supports President Trump, who is deeply unpopular in the District. “I support the president of the United States,” he said. “I don’t agree with 100 percent of what he says just like I don’t agree with my wife 100 percent. What happens in the city has nothing to do with the federal government.
“The federal government has nothing to do with crumbling bridges, rats all over the place and potholes in the streets that damage your car. Ninety percent of those issues are the responsibility of the District government.”
Chittams, pastor at Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church in Forestville, Maryland, is a graduate of Howard University and holds master’s degrees from Maple Springs Baptist College & Seminary and Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity. He moved to the District to go to Howard in 1978 and moved to Ward 7 in 1992.
Patricia Howard Chittams, his wife, has served as an advisory neighborhood commissioner and his three adult sons have been educated in District public schools.
Chittams said that on the council, he will “bring GOP principles to the city government.”
“I will try to stop tax[ing] people to oblivion,” he said. “People will leave the District if they get taxed too much. I think the six percent rideshare tax to fund Metro is ridiculous.
“Metro is grossly mismanaged and a lot of the money given to it is misappropriated. Metro needs to get its spending in order but the D.C. Council, instead of saying that, goes to the taxpayers for more money.”
Chittams said that the District’s school system “has been broken for over a generation.”
“Mayoral control of the system needs to be removed,” he said. “The school system is too politicized. What is needed is an elected school board that will focus on education and not politics. I think the council has done a poor job on public school oversight.”