Newsletter: You Are Invited! Swearing-In & Open House Jan. 2!
We’re in the final days of 2018! Thank you for your continued support and engagement throughout this year. Every call, email, and visit to the Wilson Building has helped me better understand what is important to District residents, and I’m honored to continue working on your behalf to achieve a more equitable, accessible, and affordable city.
On to 2019!
Start off the new year by joining me at two events on January 2:
Swearing-In: You are welcome to come to the swearing-in of the newly re-elected leadership of the city. The ceremony takes place Wednesday, Jan. 2, at the Convention Center beginning at 9:30 a.m. No tickets are needed.
- Inauguration Open House: Following the swearing-in, join me from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. for an open house in my D.C. Council office (1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 408) and help kick off my second term! We’ll have some delicious nibbles from Each Peach in Mount Pleasant!
Keep reading for a few updates from our final legislative meeting of 2018.
Ensuring Access to Quality Healthcare: We need to close the health equity gap in our city. A key part of the solution is the new hospital proposed at the St. Elizabeths campus in Ward 8. This is an investment that will impact generations of Washingtonians, and that’s why there has been such vigorous debate about it. The new hospital also will be a major employer on the east side of the city, and as Labor Committee chair, I want to make sure we have quality jobs at the hospital. At our final legislative meeting, my colleagues approved an amendment I proposed that ensures three primary things: District workers will get a fair chance at being hired at the new hospital, a majority of United Medical Center nurses will be hired at the new hospital, and employees at the new hospital will be able to unionize without interference.
Closing the health equity gap has become even more urgent with the closing of Providence Hospital in Ward 5. You might have seen that the city’s efforts to prevent closure were unsuccessful. As the facility begins scaling down operations, I want to make sure that the workers who have taken care of our neighbors are aware of the resources the District offers to help them transition to new employment. That’s why I sent a letter to Mayor Bowser at the end of last week, asking that we work together on a clear course of action to assist these workers.
Strengthening Fair Wage Garnishment Practices: I am happy to report that my Wage Garnishment Fairness Amendment Act passed its final vote unanimously! Under the legislation, D.C. workers earning the minimum wage or less will be protected from wage garnishment, D.C. workers earning more than the minimum wage will have the opportunity to pursue a hardship procedure, and residents will receive better notification before wages are garnished. You can read more about these changes for District residents here.
Being Judicious About Who We Subsidize: As I previewed in my last newsletter, there was a hearing on a partially-approved tax subsidy for Chemonics, a company that settled with the U.S. Department of Labor for hiring discrimination against African-Americans. You can read the City Paper's hearing preview here. At the hearing, Chemonics could not provide clear answers on how this happened or why the tax abatement was needed. That’s why I proposed an amendment to remove the tax subsidy for Chemonics. Unfortunately the amendment wasn’t supported by a majority of my colleagues. Many companies want to do business in the District, and I believe District residents should be getting more from our financial deals.
Supporting a Strong Public Service Commission: The Public Service Commission is tasked with ensuring that District residents receive safe, reliable, and quality utility services at rates that work in their interests. I had concerns that two nominees to the city’s three-person Public Service Commission, Willie Phillips and Greer Gillis, would not be able to fulfill this responsibility completely when they came before the Council for a final confirmation vote last week. Mr. Phillips was the deciding vote in favor of the Pepco-Exelon merger, which I strongly opposed because I didn’t think it was in the best interest of the District, and Ms. Gillis does not have any direct experience in energy and regulatory policy, which I believe is necessary for the position. Although I did not support their nominations, they were confirmed by a majority of my colleagues. I look forward to finding ways to work with them to ensure District residents are getting the best utility services possible.
Celebrating the Holiday Season: Thanks to all who joined me and my staff to enjoy the holiday season, celebrate the end of our legislative year, and support Toys for Tots at my annual holiday party! Special thanks to Compass Coffee and Naval Lodge No. 4 for their sponsorships and my constituent services director, Pat Joseph, for her organizational support to make sure we had a fun time with plenty of raffles and jelly donuts.
Hamilton Relay Scholarship Available: Please help spread the word about the Hamilton Relay Scholarship supporting graduating high school seniors in the District who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or have difficulty speaking in their goals of continuing their education. The scholarship is $500, and applications must be received or postmarked by January 18, 2019. More information is available here: hamiltonrelay.com.
Swearing-In of Newly Re-Elected D.C. Council members: Wednesday, January 2, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (801 Mt. Vernon Pl. NW)
- Councilmember Silverman’s Inauguration Open House: Wednesday, January 2, from 12:30-2:30pm at the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 408)
As always, thanks so much for reading. Warm wishes for a peaceful end to 2018 and a healthy, joyful New Year. See you in 2019!