☀️Congratulations to Our Newly Elected Hyperlocal Representatives in DC!☀️
The DC Board of Elections recently certified the results of the November 8th General Election, and the 23 candidates I endorsed for Members of the DC State Board of Education and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners were overwhelmingly successful (with 74 percent being elected to serve). These first-time elected officials will bring new energy, vision, and compassion to our local government. I am so thankful they were willing to take the leap and run for office, and I know first-hand the importance of the work ahead of them and the opportunities for collaboration in service of DC residents.
Here are some of my hyperlocal takeaways from the November 8th General Election in DC:
DC voted overwhelmingly to eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers. As Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie stated: “If [voters] were clear about anything … it was Initiative 82.” After approving an almost identical proposal in 2018 with 55% of the vote, 74 percent of DC voters cast their (132,925!) votes in support of the Initiative this time, and the Initiative won in every single precinct in every ward in DC. Voters understand a tiered wage system is unfair, and we see all the time who such skewed power dynamics help and who they hurt.
I was proud to support the Initiative when voters first approved it in 2018, and I was angry when the current Council Chair publicly opposed and led the DC Council in overturning the Initiative then. The racist, sexist, and ableist history of the subminimum wage for tipped workers is well documented. And the Covid-19 public health emergency only worsened wage instability and harassment. The DC Council should take note: the overwhelming support this second time around sends a clear signal that residents will not stand for the Council overturning or weakening Initiative 82.
DC has elected its youngest elected official. Quentin Colón Roosevelt won his election to represent Spring Valley, Kent, and the Palisades as the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for Single Member District 3D03. At 18 years old, Quentin will bring an important perspective to bear on local politics and help pave the way for young people across DC to run for local office and engage in local politics. Quentin’s win is not just unprecedented; it’s also beneficial for efforts to increase youth engagement in our local politics more broadly!
DC also elected several college students to represent their neighborhoods, including Dasia Bandy, ANC 2A07, who attends and will represent George Washington University; Ashleigh Fields, ANC 1B07, who attends Howard University; and Rohin Ghosh, ANC 3E08, who attends and will represent American University. These newly elected Commissioners will bring important attention to issues affecting our student populations across DC, which often lack representation in our local government.
Commissioner Amber Gove (ANC 6A04) definitively defeated a frivolous recall and won her re-election. I have had the pleasure of working with Commissioner Gove extensively, and she is a thoughtful, diligent, and effective Commissioner. She overwhelmingly defeated a frivolous, confusing, and wasteful recall effort in late October (more on the costs associated with the recall here), and then went on to definitively win her re-election campaign in the November General Election. Commissioners across DC are sworn to uphold the “best interests of the District as a whole” in their decisionmaking, and it was particularly heartening to see our community overwhelmingly support a Commissioner who embodies that oath.
Several first-time women candidates won their elections for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner. When I decided to endorse and support candidates for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, I knew I wanted to focus on supporting women who would be serving for the first time as Commissioners.
These strong, brilliant, compassionate women shined this election: Alyce McFarland, ANC 8B06; Amanda Beale, ANC 8C08; Ashley Renee Ruff, ANC 7F02; Christy Kwan, ANC 6C01; Patricia Eguino, ANC 6C06; Alicia Egolum, ANC 5B03; Huma Imtiaz, ANC 5E04; Dasia Bandy, ANC 2A07; Ashleigh Fields, ANC 1B07; and Lynda Laughlin, ANC 1C06. We also welcome a number of successful women write-in candidates, including Lisa D.T. Rice, ANC 7B07; Patricia Stamper, ANC 7C06; and Casey Swegman, ANC 4C01.
Supporting women Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, and particularly those who are serving for the first time, is more than just lip service. On a hunch, I did some poking around, and we are experiencing a pretty dramatic drop in women Commissioners this incoming term — from 65% women Commissioners currently to 41% expected in 2023. The importance of a network of support for women Commissioners is very clear, and it will be necessary to continue to advocate for the resources necessary to ensure inclusive and representative Commissions. We also need to acknowledge the increased level of harassment, particularly online, that women leaders face and work together to make our communities intentionally welcoming.
Several closely contested races engaged residents and fostered longstanding commitments to service. Several races came down to the wire and were incredibly close, including Dev Myers’ race against a longtime incumbent in Single Member District 7F07, which ended with only an eight-vote split. I spent part of Election Day with Dev’s mom at the Benning Stoddert Recreation Center, and the vote center was electric. Many candidates, as well as their families and friends, engaged with each other, voters, and passersby. It was nothing short of a prime example of why competitive elections matter and how they show our residents we care.
Joshua Wiley, a first-time candidate for Ward 6 Member of the State Board of Education ran an incredible race against a well-funded opponent. Earning 47 percent of the vote (11,599 votes!), Joshua showed us the energy, vision, and compassion that someone who works in our schools every day brings to one of our most important local elected races. Joshua will continue to support and love on his schools’ kids, and I’m deeply thankful to know him and to have him working in my neighborhood every day.
Takema Keyes, ANC 8B01; Nikki Del Casale, ANC 6A03; Justine Perkowski, ANC 5B07; and Carrie Dellesky, ANC 5D06, also ran incredibly competitive races and highlighted important issues like addressing hunger and poverty, housing as a human right, and the need for equitable traffic safety infrastructure. These candidates will continue to be involved and contribute meaningfully to our communities, whether they are holding incumbent elected officials accountable, acting in service of our communities, including advocating for those with the most need, or starting or joining community organizations.
Overall, voter turnout was down from four years ago. This General Election cycle we saw a decline in voter turnout from the last non-presidential General Election, with 40.8 percent of registered voters voting (down from 46.3 percent of registered voters voting in 2018) and 25,926 fewer voters (down from 231,700 voters in 2018 to 205,774 voters in 2022). While it’s somewhat disappointing that turnout was down when we are solidifying and enhancing vote by mail in the District, we did see increased turnout in the June Primary Election, with 32.2 percent of registered voters voting (up from 18.7 percent of registered voters voting in 2018).
We continue to have work to do. And that’s because public service — including the civic engagement and education that comes with it — is a daily practice. That means continually working to make voting more accessible and inclusive; constantly striving for greater representation in our elected bodies, all the way from the DC Council to Advisory Neighborhood Commissions; and holding our elected officials accountable at every turn. I’m in it for the long haul, and I know these former candidates and soon-to-be elected officials are, as well.
Thank you to every candidate who ran with their hearts and souls in service of our communities, including the endorsed candidates who I haven’t yet mentioned who were elected: Ben Williams, Ward 1 Member of the State Board of Education; VJ Kapur, ANC 5C07; Billy Easley, ANC 1A10; Santiago Lakatos, ANC 1B04; and Josh Jacobson, 1E06. We have a bright future ahead of us.