Q&A with DC Election Candidates Chioma Iwouha & Erin Palmer

Washington Informers Bridge had the opportunity to speak separately with political candidates Chioma Iwuoha, a Washington DC native running for AtLarge Committeewomen of the DC Democratic Party.

Washington Informers Bridge had the opportunity to speak separately with political candidates Chioma Iwuoha, a Washington DC native running for AtLarge Committeewomen of the DC Democratic Party. We also spoke to political candidate Erin Palmer, 40 from Boulder, Colorado who is running for D.C Council Chair and here is what they had to share about their 2022 campaign and running efforts.

Chioma Iwuoha, Candidate for At-Large Committeewoman of the D.C Democratic Party

WIB: Why did you decide to run for a political office?

Chioma Iwouha

CI: I decided to run for political office because I believe in the power of the community to create long-lasting change. There has long been a disconnect between the Democratic Party and everyday people. I ran to bridge the gap between underrepresented communities and the Democratic Party. Our agenda should center on the most disenfranchised of our society to build a Party deeply rooted in justice. My job is to bring those voices to the table and advocate for change to our local Party leaders.

WIB: What policies should the under 40 demographic be looking out for that would positively/negatively affect their financial status?

CI: An AtLarge Committee member of The Democratic Party does not pass policy. The DC Democratic Party provides input in the affairs of the Democratic Party at the block, precinct, state, and national level by ensuring, preserving, and protecting the principles of Democracy, freedom, equity, and service for the common good through political action for good government, fair elections, quality elected officials, strong and vibrant communities, the election of a Democratic nominee for President of the United States, and voting rights and statehood for DC.

As a candidate, I am particularly focused on advocating for DC Statehood as a racial justice issue and increasing youth civic participation to create strong and vibrant communities.

WIB: As a Washingtonian, how important is it to participate in the political process that’s specific to DC?

CI: It’s a matter of life and death. When our young people aren’t engaged in the political process it leaves the resolutions up to elected officials who aren’t close to the issue. With the increase in opioid overdoses and gun violence, it’s important to have young people at the table. It’s important for young people to push policies that improve their material conditions and those policies are part of the Democratic Party’s agenda. As the At-Large Committeewoman for the DC Democratic Party, I am committed to creating spaces for political education and providing support on how to testify to the DC government to push the youth agenda forward.

  • Chioma Iwuoha

Erin Palmer, Candidate for D.C Council Chairwoman Candidate

WIB: Why did you decide to run for a political office?

Erin Palmer

EP: I’m running to be DC Council Chairwoman because now more than ever we need leadership that works for every person and family across DC. I’m committed to reforming the government to take on the challenges of today and build the infrastructure for a better tomorrow.

I’ll bring my years of experience fighting for stronger ethics and greater transparency to the Wilson Building to ensure that our government serves all residents and makes DC stronger. With new ideas, collaborative leadership, and strong values we can ensure that every Washingtonian has a bright, resilient future.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, our family balanced school, work, and our daily commutes knowing that even something small might knock us off track. The pandemic created new challenges and worsened troubling disparities in public health efforts, outcomes, basic needs, and economic recovery. Covid-19 is not the only challenge that DC – and our country – will face. Climate change also threatens our collective future, with even more devastating impacts for marginalized communities.

We can and must build in the support and new infrastructure necessary to respond to and thrive in the face of these challenges. Diligence, dedication, and vision for what is possible will be critical. I am prepared to face these challenges for my children, your children and our families, our communities, and generations to come.

WIB: What policies should the under 40 demographic be looking out for that would positively/negatively affect their financial status?

EP: I believe in treating public education as a right – not a business or expense. By fully funding our public schools and improving and expanding programs like the University of the District of Columbia’s RISE (Recovery Intervention, Support, and Engagement program), which reduces the financial burden of college through free tuition and housing, scholarships, books, and electronic devices, we can set up younger Washingtonians for success.

I also believe every person in DC deserves a good job. Our local government can ensure jobs with good wages, paid leave when it’s needed, and access to healthcare. I’ve proposed expanding and enhancing jobs training and development programs like the Marion Barry Youth Summer Employment Program, Project Empowerment, and the University of the District of Columbia’s Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning program to provide necessary skills and support for permanent job placement. Oversight is essential to Improve Languishing accountability and enforcement related to D.C’s First Source Program to provide local job opportunities and reduce unemployment. Small businesses are the heart of our neighborhoods. But they need more support targeted to their specific needs, and we need to focus on empowering young Washingtonians to start successful businesses. That means focusing our tax

incentives on local small businesses, especially women- and black-owned businesses, rather than big developers and multinational corporations.

I know firsthand how good the Main Streets program can be, but not all neighborhoods benefit equally, so I will fight for equitable funding. Together. The DC government can focus on supporting broad home-grown success rather than subsidizing the already wealthy.

You can read my proposals to support public education in my Plan for Public Education as a Right and my proposals to invest in workforce training and good paying jobs in my Plan for Safe, Stable, and Secure Communities.

WIB: What changes should we expect under your administration that would directly benefit younger Washingtonians?

EP: I believe in expanding democracy. Bringing more people into the democratic process, including through voting, is healthy and serves us all. When we invest in our communities through civic education and engagement, we see the dividends in a more robust democracy. Time and again, we have failed to provide equal access to and participation in public services, programs, and activities for DC residents who cannot (or have limited capacity to) speak, read, or write English to individuals with disabilities. Not only is this unfair, but the government’s failure also sends a message that our city doesn’t care about those communities and their needs.

Expanding and improving democracy requires constant attention. We benefit as a society by bringing people into the democratic process. But that also requires continual dedication to engaging with and educating voters. I’m hopeful that as we expand voting rights we will develop more robust efforts to teach, as well as listen and learn, about voting and why it matters.

You can read my proposals for a more inclusive and accessible DC Council in my D.C Council Accountability Plan.

  • Erin Palmer
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