“Look for work, and leave things better than you found them.” Those are the values I learned as a girl scout, and the ones that have guided my work from the neighborhood watch and neighborhood association, to my two terms on the ANC and now on the DC Council. Being the Ward 1 Councilmember is an incredible responsibility. I follow in the footsteps of David Clarke, Frank Smith and Jim Graham, and I’m the first woman to represent the ward. The challenge before me is to build on the great work of my predecessors, while leading the Ward at a time of growth and prosperity for some, while others may feel they are being left behind.
That’s why I’ve had a laser focus on issues that impact the people of Ward 1, the most diverse ward in the District. Whether it’s my work on the Housing committee to ensure government resources are dedicated to truly affordable housing, my work to ensure each of our schools has the resources to allow our children to thrive, my work to fight crime by funding additional police and gang violence prevention as well as introducing legislation that gets guns off the streets, or my efforts to support our immigrant and LGBT communities I am out front and center working for Ward 1. As chair of the Human Services committee I’ve also committed millions of dollars toward ending homelessness for youth, single adults and families, and made landmark reforms in our public assistance program, Temporary Aid to Needy Families. We have come a long way and are making great progress in our ward and communities, but there is certainly much more work to be done and I will continue to fight for our ward everyday.
When I visit our neighborhood schools, and the children ask me what the most important part of my job is, I always tell them, listening to those I serve. When I was on the campaign trail in 2014, I went door-to-door for three years talking with residents about the issues they are concerned about. I held more formal listening sessions as well. It was these conversations that helped shape my early agenda. Since I’ve taken office, I’ve continued those conversations through my monthly community office hours; my pop-up office hours at Metro stations, parks and festivals; telephone town halls; and one-on-one correspondence. Ward 1 residents have given me ideas for legislation, as well as insights into what is and isn’t working in government. My community engagement efforts are essential to my effectiveness as a legislator.
The most fundamental part of my job is to help Ward 1 residents cut through the red tape to access the District’s services that they deserve. I am proud that my team and I have built the best constituent services operation in the District. Whether by phone, email, or in person, my team and I are available around the clock to assist with the most basic city services as well as the incredibly complex ones.
In my first term on the Council, I have worked hard to fulfill my promises to the people of Ward 1:
- Putting more than 500 units of truly affordable housing in the pipeline in Ward 1, either by preserving existing units or producing new ones.
- Modernizing four schools serving the Ward with two more on the way.
- Establishing a new program office within the District government to provide wrap-around services to our children, including tutoring, mentoring, after school activities and other programs that improve achievement.
- Supporting our commercial corridors with new Main Street programs and Clean Teams
- Enhancing public safety with additional funding for gang violence prevention; passing comprehensive criminal justice reform (NEAR Act), and increasing funding to MPD
- Providing additional funding for our recreation facilities
- Increasing the minimum wage and passing and funding Paid Family Leave