Today is the first day of in-person, early voting in DC! I was at Sherwood Rec near my home in Ward 6 when polls opened at 8:30 a.m., and though there was a line, it moved quite efficiently! Two reminders: You can vote at any early voting center across the city; the list of sites is here. And for our seniors and residents with a disability, curbside voting (which allows you to vote outside on a hand-held computer) is available!
We face many challenging decisions in the upcoming days and months, both as individuals and as a city. First, I know many of you, like me, are wrestling with how to celebrate upcoming holidays safely and responsibly. I want you to be aware of guidance DC Health has issued both for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Here’s what we are seeing through contact tracing interviews: COVID+ residents report with some frequency attending small group gatherings with family and friends prior to testing positive. I usually host Thanksgiving and love that my Maryland and Virginia family have a tradition of gathering at my home, but it’s not happening this year. DC Health considers that high-risk, and I am heeding that warning.
Press Release: DC Council Unanimously Passes Emergency Legislation to Extend Unemployment Compensation for DC Workers
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 20, 2020 – Today, the D.C. Council unanimously passed emergency legislation introduced by Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) to extend unemployment compensation by seven additional weeks for all eligible claimants.
Election Month is here, and we are 20 days from Election Day! Let’s vote!
If you are registered to vote in DC, you should have received your ballot at the address listed with the Board of Elections. If you have not received your ballot, first check here to make sure you are properly registered and the Board has the correct address for you. If you have not gotten a ballot by the end of the week, you should call the Board at (202) 727-2525 to request another one. If you are not yet registered in DC, it is too late now to vote by mail. You can still vote in person with same-day registration. Early Vote Centers open on October 27 and 95 vote centers will be open on Election Day, November 3. More details on voting are below.
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 9, 2020 – Today, the D.C. Council’s Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, chaired by Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large), released a letter following up on the top concerns raised by claimants and Councilmembers at the Committee’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) oversight hearings.
On Tuesday, September 22, 2020, Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) moved The Eviction Notice Moratorium Emergency Act and the Eviction Notice Moratorium Temporary Act to keep more residents housed safely during the pandemic by eliminating unnecessary moves of fear or moves of misunderstanding caused by receiving a Notice to Vacate.
Government Testimony on DC’s Unemployment Insurance System Rescheduled for September 30, 2020
D.C. Council’s Labor Committee announces monthly roundtables on unemployment through end of year
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 15, 2020 – At the request of the D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES), the D.C. Council’s Committee on Labor and Workforce Development has agreed to reschedule the government’s appearance to deliver testimony and answer questions on the District’s unemployment insurance programs to Wednesday, September 30 at 3 p.m. Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes, Director of the Department of Employment Services, had been scheduled to testify at tomorrow’s (Wednesday, September 16) oversight hearing.
Today is 9/11, a solemn remembrance of the terrifying day 19 years ago in which nearly 3,000 lives were lost due to terrorism. Some of you might have family or friends who either died on the planes that were targeted or were a first responder in New York, Pennsylvania, or right across the Potomac at the Pentagon. Even if we were not impacted directly, 9/11 changed our lives. My condolences to all who are honoring lost loved ones and thank you to our fire and emergency medical services personnel, police and others who are the front lines of emergency response.
We are in the midst of another life-changing moment right now: COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on our health and on our economy. Some of you have had the virus; some may have lost a friend or family member due to COVID. I know some of you reading this have lost income and jobs. How we respond as a community will determine how long-lasting the impacts will be of COVID-19. Every decision needs to be informed by our public health experts and science. And we also need to be creative and innovative problem solvers to get our kids safely back to in-school learning, our businesses, particularly those hardest hit in hospitality and entertainment, back to work, and all of our residents securely and safely housed.
The DC Council has returned from our summer legislative recess, and as we close out Council Period 23 in these last four months of the year, COVID response will dominate the agenda. Next week, my Committee on Labor and Economic Development will conduct an oversight hearing of one of the key pieces of our economic safety net: unemployment assistance. I will also be participating in hearings on rent control and evictions, as well as other important housing policies. You can find a calendar of all Council hearings here.
A request: If you are currently unemployed or have recently experienced unemployment, please take 5 minutes to complete this survey from the Workforce Investment Council (WIC), of which I am a member. Your input will help the WIC better understand the barriers unemployed residents face and how to address them.
Take care everyone. If you have innovative policy ideas, send them my way. If you are still struggling to access public benefits to help you cope with COVID, please let me know. With our collective efforts to help each other, we will overcome this virus.
Thanks again for reading.
Councilmember Silverman Questions Dismissal of DCHA Board of Commissioners Vice Chair Franselene St. Jean-Clarke
On Friday, September 11, 2020, At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I) sent a letter to Steve Walker, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Talent and Appointments concerning the recent dismissal of DC Housing Authority Board of Commissioners Vice Chair Franselene St. Jean-Clarke. Councilmember Silverman has requested a response by September 25, 2020.
Click here to read the full text of the letter or see below.
On Tuesday, September 8, 2020, Councilmembers Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) and Robert White (D-At-Large), introduced the following Disapproval Resolution, “Inaugural Parade Viewing Stands Construction Reprogramming Request No. 23-120 Disapproval Resolution of 2020”. This resolution disapproves reprogramming request No. 23-120 of $1,000,000 of local funds budget authority from the Department of Employment Services to the Department of General Services to cover costs associated with construction of reviewing stands for the 2021 Presidential inaugural parade.
Click here to view the introduction in full.
I’m not sure if it’s “Back to School” or, more aptly, “Back to School, But Still at Home,” but for those who might not be aware, our DCPS students start school this Monday. As Mayor Bowser and DCPS Chancellor Louis Ferebee announced a few weeks ago, DCPS will be remote learning until at least November 6. I, along with several of my colleagues, have asked the Administration repeatedly about the readiness of our system and our families to learn via technology.
I remain concerned that some of our students either do not have a computer, or do not know how to use their computer and hotspot well enough to make remote learning successful. DCPS leadership has assured the Council, however, that they are prepared. If you are a DCPS family still in need of technology for the new school year, please call your school ASAP, call DCPS at 202-442-5885, or reach out to my office for assistance.
Chancellor Ferebee also announced that enrollment and vaccination rates remain lower than expected. For information on vaccinations and other health support for your student, click here. Visit DCPSreopenstrong.com for a full list of resources for students and families. Best wishes to our students, parents and teachers on their first term. Please give me your feedback on how things are going with remote learning.
The DC Council is also saying goodbye to summer recess soon. We head back into session starting September 8, the day after Labor Day.
A final note: If you are planning to participate in this Friday’s March on Washington, please help our city contain COVID-19 by wearing a mask and social distancing as best you can. For full details about the March, including the route, road closures, and what safety measures will be in place, click here.
Take care, and see you on the other side of Labor Day.