Newsletter: Happy Holidays!
Happy holidays! Whether you will be staying at home in DC or traveling to visit family or friends, I wish you a warm and peaceful holiday season as we close out 2017.
Given the harrowing year in national politics, it made our job at the local level even more critical to preserving democratic values and basic decency in our country. It has been an honor to work on behalf of District residents to make our city, the nation’s capital, a model for the rest of the country in being a place of opportunity for all.
Of course, there is so much more to do. I will remain focused on three fundamental principles: honest, ethical decision-making; responsive and accountable governing; and making smart investments in economic development, including affordable housing and public education, that will have big returns in the long run.
It’s been a busy year! From becoming the Labor and Workforce Development Committee chair in January to introducing legislation and enhancing laws to help DC’s working families in December, it has been a full agenda. I will continue to prioritize creating a more equitable economy with living-wage jobs for District residents, providing affordable housing throughout the city for various incomes and ages, and building more transparency and accountability into District government.
I know you have been busy too, and you might be working in your last minute shopping as we head toward Christmas and the New Year! So instead of lots of paragraphs on what happened in 2017, I’ve put together a quick list that you can peruse as you wait in line at one of our great local retailers!
Here are a few of my legislative highlights from the year:
- Jobs for DC Residents: Our office has been working hard to reform and enhance the District’s workforce development system. Efforts to do that include a $2 million adult learners transportation subsidy and bills like the Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program Enhancement Amendment Act of 2017 and Workforce Development System Transparency Act of 2017, which will help better prepare our residents for jobs of the future.
- Affordable Housing: We have been focused on ensuring that residents can afford to keep their homes and afford to rent and live in the District with bills like the Reverse Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2017, Senior Tenants and Residents with Disabilities Rental Assistance Program Amendment Act of 2017, and Inclusionary Zoning Consistency Amendment Act of 2017.
- Responsive, Honest Government: With bills like the Grants Transparency Amendment Act of 2017 and continued support for campaign finance reform, we will improve government accountability, transparency, and accessibility.
- Access to High Quality Child Care and Education: Child care is one of the biggest barriers to getting our residents to work. In order to make sure every family has access to diverse, affordable child care, we passed and funded the Non-Traditional Child Care Needs Evaluation Act of 2017.
- Inclusive Economic Development: Supporting local business is critical to our city and makes our neighborhoods home! That’s why I introduced the Small Business Advisory Council Act of 2017 and Living Wage Certification Program Amendment Act of 2017.
- Fairness: As a government, we need to hold negligent landlords accountable. We can do this while adding consumer protections for homeowners with bills like the Slumlord Deterrence Amendment Act of 2017 [Washington City Paper] and Stop Work Order Disclosure and Regulation Amendment Act of 2017.
- And More Fairness: Bills like the Driver’s License Revocation Fairness Amendment Act of 2017 [Washington Post] and Wage Garnishment Fairness Amendment Act of 2017 protect lower income residents and working families from unnecessary financial burdens.
I was also vocal about what I believed were ineffective uses of District taxpayer dollars. When nearly $36 million were slated to go toward building additional underground parking at Union Market—even after our District Department of Transportation, Department of Energy and Environment, and Office of Planning all raised concerns about excessive amounts of parking at the site—I proposed using the money to build affordable housing and expand multimodal transit options.
And the contract discussions with Veritas of Washington LLC to operate United Medical Center in Ward 8 raised even more alarm about District spending, which is why I joined Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray at several oversight hearings that ultimately led to the contract being disapproved by a majority of the Council.
A FEW KUDOS
Thanks so much to the many residents who weighed in on legislative issues throughout the year and advocated to me and my staff. It is your input that matters most. This year I also had the opportunity to meet and hear from hundreds of District residents and workers across community meetings, summer festivals, my Committee open house, and as a co-host of the Council’s first Celebration of Black History in the District. I was especially honored to present ceremonial resolutions for special contributions to the District to DC Central Kitchen’s transformative culinary job training director Chef Marianne Ali and the DC area’s all-girl baseball team and national champions DC Force, along with resolutions recognizing National Wear Red Day and National Adult Education and Family Literacy Awareness Week.
Finally, thanks and kudos to my staff! I am very proud that, whether it is an issue regarding constituent services, housing finance, or workforce development, our office is seen as a resource to those seeking information both inside and outside of Wilson Building.
I’m looking forward to recharging over the next week before getting back to work after the holiday break. Warm wishes from my office to your home, and we’ll see you in 2018!