By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
mgreen@afro.com

While the District of Columbia may have a reputation for having long-serving leaders such as: former Mayor and current Council member Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7); former Council member Jack Evans (who served for about 28 years on the Council before his resignation in January); Mayor Muriel Bowser, who previously served on the Council for eight years and has been in her current position for five years; and of course, there’s former Mayor and City Council member Marion Barry who even before his death in 2014, was nicknamed “Mayor for Life.”

Despite the District’s loyal love for leaders, there are millennial politicians who are on a mission to improve their beloved city, including Ward 8 representative and vice president of the State Board of Education (SBOE), Markus Batchelor and former president of the D.C. Young Democrats (DCYD), Marcus Goodwin.

They’re native Washingtonians; they have the same name (different spellings), they’re millennials interested in a more equitable city and are both running on the Independent ticket for the at-large council seat as part of the general election on Nov. 3.

Markus Batchelor is running for the D.C. Council’s at-large seat. (Courtesy Photo)

The AFRO caught up with Batchelor and Goodwin, and while the two may have some things in common- the young men are very different candidates vying for votes on Nov. 3.   

With a lot of experience in education and all the issues affecting schools, students, parents and educators, Batchelor has been able to get a deep understanding of how these challenges transcend into the community.  The former advisory neighborhood commissioner and youngest person ever elected to the SBOE is confident that his experience makes him a candidate with a pulse on the trials facing the District and is taking a community approach to help create a more equitable D.C.

“When we’ve been talking to voters around the city, I think it’s pretty clear that all of our residents want equal access to the same things.  They want equal access to housing that they can afford, access and the dignity of living wage work that will allow them to support a family and thrive.  They want transit networks that are affordable, that get them to where they want to go and keep them safe while they’re walking and biking and traversing the city.  They want a response to COVID that is not going to put their lives in danger, but is also not going to take us back to the city that we were before and that’s going to make this city more equitable,” Batchelor told the AFRO in a Facebook Live interview.  “All of our residents want those things, and some of these issues affect residents to a lesser degree than others, but what I’ve discovered and the idea that this campaign is built around is that all of our neighbors are compassionate and care about the wellbeing of one another and that when you ask them to lean in on issues that affect the least of us, they do and I’ve been super encouraged by that fact.”  

Marcus Goodwin is running for the D.C. Council’s at-large seat. (Courtesy Photo)

In contrast to Batchelor, this is Goodwin’s second time running for an at-large city council seat in 2018 as a Democrat.  After having learned a lot from the 2018 election, Goodwin decided to enter the race again as an Independent.

“The problems that I ran to help solve are still here, and in fact, this pandemic shows that they’re deepening.  The African-American community in Washington, D.C. has accounted for 80 percent of the COVID-19 deaths that we’ve seen,” Goodwin said in an AFRO Facebook Live interview. “So the inequities are now being emphasized, underscored and highlighted, so that’s what I want to address.”

Although he is working on the campaign full time, his background in housing, business and the private sector, as well as his work as president of DCYD, has allowed for Goodwin to take a more economic approach to addressing D.C.’s challenges.

“I have a plan that will help us achieve a more equitable economy coming out of COVID-19. I’m focused on six things.  First, fiscal responsibility and balancing our budget. The second, is eradicating food deserts, by designing economic incentives. The third is addressing crime and improving public safety by addressing the underlying causes of crime before they occur, such as underemployment, job training, adult education and childcare.  The fourth is improving our public education system…. Five is promoting equitable economic development that is passing another small business grant and helping create bonds that will have renters that are business owners, become property owners.  The sixth is infrastructure, repairing roads, building more bike lanes and fixing our public housing that’s falling apart,” Goodwin said.

Both candidates are still campaigning and open to virtual meetings and sessions with residents, while preparing for the Nov. 3.  In order to learn more about the candidates, visit their websites: (Batchelor) www.markusfordc.com and  (Goodwin) www.goodwinfordc.com.  To check out their full interviews with the AFRO visit Facebook at www.facebook.com/AfroAmericanNews/.