The Democratic Primary, which takes place in Washington D.C. between May 22 and June 2, 2020, involves contests for seats in Wards 2, 4, 7 and 8, and the Democratic At-Large seat. Independent candidates will participate in November’s general election.
This article will provide a round up of the Black millennial candidates you can expect to find on your ballot. If elected, these people will play a critical role in leading D.C. out of the public health and economic crises disproportionately affecting the Black community.
Ward 8 D.C. Councilmember Trayon White
“Don’t Just Stand There, Do Something!”
About: Councilmember Trayon White is a proud father, community advocate, and humanitarian. He has served the Ward 8 community as a consistent leader, advocate and legislator.
On the Issues: Councilmember White, elected in 2016, has shown a commitment to addressing inequity in the District’s education and healthcare systems. He is considered a champion of the people, highlighting issues of affordable housing and access to employment. He has been outspoken about gun violence while urging his colleagues in the D.C. Government to make substantial investments in critical response efforts.
Councilmember White has introduced legislation to increase funding for at-risk public schools, and decriminalize fare evasion, while securing hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants for Ward 8 small businesses. In the wake of the novel coronavirus, Councilmember White has passionately provided support and relief. On countless occasions, alongside other masked members of the community, he has delivered food and other essential items to Ward 8’s most vulnerable residents. Through these consistent actions, on the ground and on the council floor, Councilmember White has earned the trust of community members.
Janeese Lewis George: Candidate for the Ward 4 D.C. Council Seat
An independent voice who will fight for accountability, affordability, and equity.
About: George is a third-generation Washingtonian, experienced attorney, community advocate, Democratic Party activist, and civil servant. She has spent her life fighting for her neighbors.
On the Issues: George’s campaign platform highlights the connection between problems in education, housing, climate, health, and safety. She puts education at the forefront saying, “We have one path for students whose families have the network and net worth to get them into the right programs and the right schools, and another path for those who don’t.”
George is committed to pushing legislation that expands funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund, raises the ceiling on homebuyer assistance programs, and takes bold action to expand housing protections like rent control. She plans to boldly confront violence and crime by adopting a public health approach. She also supports taking on domestic violence perpetrators, getting guns off of our streets, fully implementing the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results (NEAR) Act, and keeping ICE out of our communities. D.C. often ranks as one of the “fittest cities” in America — but not for Black residents. George plans to tackle health inequity by speaking out in support of patient safety, quality care, public investment, and safe hospital staffing.
Mike Austin: Candidate for the Ward 8 D.C. Council Seat
It’s #NowOrNever for Ward 8 to solve our urgent challenges.
About: Mike Austin is a fourth-generation Washingtonian, attorney, and public servant who chairs ANC 8C in Congress Heights.
On the Issues: Austin is challenging incumbent Councilmember Trayon White. His platform focuses on challenges facing Ward 8, like investments in schools, attracting responsible development, and strengthening the workforce through strong employers training and employing Ward 8 residents. According to Austin’s campaign website, “Ward 8 residents have a life expectancy that’s 15 years less than Ward 3 residents, and have less access to healthy food options than every other Ward.” As Ward 8 council member, Austin would be committed to fighting for healthier food options and better healthcare policies, including the delivery of a new trauma hospital east of the Anacostia River.
Veda Rasheed : Candidate for the Ward 7 D.C. Council Seat
The Change We Need
About: ANC Commissioner Veda Rasheed was born and raised in Ward 7. She is a mom of two, an attorney, and community activist whose first priority is serving Ward 7 with unflinching integrity and resolve.
On the Issues: Rasheed is challenging Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray. She is an advocate for schools being kept in good repair, making resources available for teachers and students, and holding teachers and students to high standards. Her platform also revolves around increasing access to elder care facilities and assisted living facilities, and providing more resources for those who wish to continue to live independently. Like other candidates, and Ward 7 community members at large, gun violence is a top issue for Rasheed.
She said she plans to take a holistic approach, urging public-health strategies that treat violence like a disease that can be interrupted, treated, and stopped from spreading. While the rest of the District experiences economic growth, Rasheed remains concerned that Ward 7 continues to fall behind on job creation. To fight this, she plans to attract new industries and small businesses to Ward 7 and improve transportation in order to ease travel to that part of the District.
Anthony Lorenzo Green : Candidate for the Ward 7 D.C. Council Seat
Accountable, Trustworthy, And An Unapologetic Fighter For All
About: ANC Commissioner Anthony Lorenzo Green is a third-generation Washingtonian, born and raised in Ward 7’s Deanwood community by his grandmother.
On the Issues: Green is an advocate for radical evidence-based solutions to intra-community violence, tackling police brutality and the affordable housing crisis, and ensuring seasoned citizens are able to age in place. He is outspoken on the lack of full-service grocery stores in Far Southeast. Green has expressed a commitment to creating an inclusive food community and bringing more grocery stores to Ward 7.
His plans include investing in grocery co-operatives, expanding food access programs, and supporting community-created urban growing spaces. If elected, he hopes to address the maternal health crisis in Washington D.C., where Black women, and women earning lower than average incomes, lack access to quality preventative and prenatal care. Green also supports the full implementation of the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results (NEAR) Act, which promotes an evidence-based, community-focused and public health intervention and prevention model to reduce crime. On his campaign website he calls community members to consciousness, saying “With a rise in violent crime in Ward 7, it is imperative that we address the root causes of violence and treat it as a public health crisis.”