D.C. Council challenger questioned about baby

Photo by Georgetown University
Fiona Greig plans to challenge longtime incumbent and fellow Georgetown resident Jack Evans for the Ward 2 D.C. Council seat
Fiona Greig plans to challenge longtime incumbent and fellow Georgetown resident Jack Evans for the Ward 2 D.C. Council seat

Georgetown resident and potential D.C. Council candidate Fiona Greig may be Harvard-educated, skilled in small business lending and committed to rooting out corruption in the D.C. government, but Washington City Paper's Loose Lips columnist Alan Suderman asked if she is "crazy" for challenging 20-year incumbent Jack Evans as a "new mom."

"One more thing," Loose Lips wrote, after noting Greig's PhD from Harvard ("gross, right?" he added), "Greig's daughter is six weeks old, which prompted LL to ask if she was crazy for trying to run a labor-intensive political campaign while trying to survive the sleepless nights that newborn's cause." (sic)

You know how women are about babies.

"He said, 'I don't know how to ask this question. I don't want to be sexist. How old is your baby? I have an eight-month old, are you crazy?'" Greig said.

"I don't think the comment would have been made in the press if I were a man," Greig told The Georgetown Dish. "We need more women in politics. We need more women running in general. That is an element of what is motivating me to run. I wouldn't want anyone stopping me for any reason. When Ella grows up to be a grown woman and has a reference point in her life that six weeks after she was born, her mother ran for city council, I think that's good. Let it be an example. I'm not going to let it offend me. I'm proud of it."

Greig has more to say: "Incumbents are vulnerable. The Council has lost its moral compass."

Greig criticized Evans' use of constituent services funds to buy sports tickets and pay staff parking tickets. "Paying for sports tickets and staff parking tickets is inappropriate. It reeks of back-scratching and it needs to be investigated," Greig said. "In the same way that there are strict controls on campaign funds, we need the exact same controls on constituent services funds."

The smart-growth candidate says the Council should be thinking more long-term. "I want to see better representation, not just better moral leadership but also more in line with the preferences of Ward 2 residents. We've seen a demographic shift. There are younger residents. They may want to stay here, they may want to have a family here. I don't see as a robust a vision for Ward 2," Greig, born in 1979 in New York, said.

"I wan to see smart growth and quality education," Greig said. "I'm thinking about Ella -- I want public school options. We're a car-free family. There are a lot of households in this Ward and this city like me."

Greig, who has a Facebook page and a Twitter handle (@VoteFiona), is a manager at McKinsey & Co. -- advising federal agencies and nonprofits.

 

0 Comments For This Article

Greg

While the baby comments may have been inappropriate, with 190 days until the election, this is not the year to beat Evans. Incumbent, big bank account, HQ w/staff.

No one even knows who Fiona is. As well intended as she may be, she does not have a chance. Sure, she'll get around 750 votes or so. Not enough, obviously, to take down a 20 year member.

She is still "exploring!" That means she has not raised a penny. Not gonna happen, people.

Anonymous

I'll definitely vote for Fiona Greig. It would be great to get some new blood into Georgetown politics. But then, I'm a woman and a mom.

Anonymous

He needs to go back under his rock.

Annonymous

The question is legitimate and should not be viewed as sexist or a personal attack. The responsibilities of parenting and, traditionally, motherhood are demanding and time consuming. Certainly, Ms. Greig chose to become a mother just as she chose to pursue a doctorate degree. The reality is parenting is a full-time job with demands that can strike at any hour of the day or night. When someone is running for political office questions regarding their platform and solutions to constituent concerns are just as valid as how they expect to juggle the demands of the job with other responsibilities. In this case, mothering a newborn should take priority. Otherwise, why chose to become a parent? There will always be opportunity to run for office, however, you only get one chance to parent a child. As most parents, particularly mothers, would probably agree in life you can't have everything all at the same time once you become a parent.

JS

Here's why it is sexist, Anonymous 2: would you ever ask a man if his political career conflicted with raising his children? In fact, did you ever ask Jack Evans about these issues while he was running with young children? I'm guessing no.

Anonymous

Another stupid comment. Basically, you are saying to all moms out there with a child, they should not work a demanding job, should not pursue their dreams until there child is older, or just dont have children. Is this a joke? This is like saying "since you are not white you cannot fly a plane because you cannot see at night" as they did in early years.

People need to wake up realize women can work, raise a family, and chew gum at the same time. And I am a man writing this. She may lose but I am glad she is standing up to pursue her dreams instead of doing what this male driven world wants her to do.

Anonymous

Annonymous-
You are basically trying to tell women how to raise children/work. "Mothering a newborn should take priority." Who says it doesn't? First of all, being on the DC Council is not a full-time, all-consuming job. And how do you know she doesn't have a husband to help out? She's right--you'd never ask a man with a six-week old baby how he expects to juggle the demands of the job with "other responsibilities."

William Folk

Give me a break, Beth!

Loose Lips asked this question because he has a new baby of his own and knows first hand the struggles of new parenthood. Trying to make this into anything else is a joke. Your disdain of Evans is evident, but this is just weak!

Tate

That one anonymous poster needs to go back under their rock too. Do people really still think like this? I hope Ms. Greig kicks Jack Evans sexist behind. He deserves it. Such a pig who as a long-term politican should have known better.

Anonymous

Cheers to Fiona for having the courage to address a question like this head on. I'm sure she has plenty of practice balancing multiple priorities from her time in some of the worlds most challenging and demanding institutions (McKinsey and the Kennedy School), and don't doubt her ability for a second. I've had the privilege of working with her, and can say that she is beyond impressive... DC could use more people like her! She has my vote!

Lizzie

Who is "He?" Evans has not said a word about this. He himself raised 3 kids as a single dad after his wife passed away from cancer, all while running for office.

Anonymous

If everyone read the context of the question: "He said, 'I don't know how to ask this question. I don't want to be sexist. How old is your baby? I have an eight-month old, are you crazy?'" Greig said.

He asked the question in the context of his own life with an infant. He had just been through the days and nights of a new born and pre-one-year-old and knew how demanding it was on him, the father, and his baby's mother and in my mind seemed to be wondering how in heaven's name is she going to manage that and a campaign and her job. I can understand asking that question in that context. To me, it's like asking Jack when his first wife was seriously ill and for years as a single dad after she died, how are you able to manage a job, three children, and being a Council member? And I would not be surprised if people didn't ask him just that.

Lizzie

@JS:

If you have been around for as long as I have, you would know that this question was asked of Jack since the beginning. He raised triplets on his own while running for the Council and he was asked at every debate how he would balance his work and home life.

Fair question for anyone, male or female, who wants to get into this. If Fiona can't handle a question so "soft," she will never last out there.

Anon33

@ Tate:

Good Lord - does anyone even read full articles anymore?!?!

Evans didn't say a word about Fiona or her baby, so how are you calling him sexist? The question to Fiona was posed by a journalist, not Jack Evans!

The population is dumber than we even thought! Sad!

Bossi

Without hearing the exact audio, I read the comments as a comment made in jest. Indeed, I've asked almost verbatim that exact question to some of my friends -- male and female -- entering into a major endeavor with a newborn at hand... not because I doubt their capabilities, but just because it's a way to point out -- in a friendly way -- their immense aspirations and lofty goals.

Anonymous, Too

"And I would not be surprised if people didn't ask him just that."

Whether or not people asked Evans personal questions, he certainly volunteered the information when he was running for re-election in 2004.

To this day, Evans continues to tout the fact that Anthony Lanier--CEO of EastBanc and a sometime developer for Millennium Partners, who built the Ritz Carlton in the West End and in Georgetown--hired his wife as a real estate agent for the Georgetown Ritz. Lanier was ever-so-grateful for Evans' largesse in delivering multi-millions of dollars of public property, air rights, etc. for a song.

That is just one of a 20-year-long string of examples--remember JackPAC? Triple-dipping on reimbursements for his gal pal's trip to China? (still) Chair of finance and revenue oversight as DC endured record ripoffs?--of Evans' self-dealing. Either he is clueless that this is unacceptable or, more likely, feels entitled to the public booty he's been doling out for years.

Greig is correct. And so is the snarky Suderman in the end, when he notes there are already laws on the books to deal with this, "Maybe what D.C. needs isn’t just better laws—it’s better councilmembers.

Anonymous

None of this - mostly allegations, really - changes the fact. Evans is going to be re-elected on April 3. It will be good to hear from Fiona, but she just doesn't have the time or money to knock off Evans.

Anonymous

the many comments on the page are not just to the article but also to the person who commented earlier on.

They wrote "As most parents, particularly mothers, would probably agree in life you can't have everything all at the same time once you become a parent". This IS a sexist comment. And people reacted to it.

Bottom line in politics, people ask women more of these questions than men. Regardless of the situation. I can think of a few questions posed to women running 1) Will you cry when it gets tough 2) How can you raise your child and still work 3) What will you wear to work...

The reason the US has a low population of woman elected officials is 2 fold. 1 reason is that they listen to this garbage and decide not to run. more and more women though are choosing to run anyway, like FG. the 2nd reason is exactly what everyone is writing on the blogs now. They still believe a woman, especially with a newborn, should not work a full time job, cannot beat a man who has served in an office for a long time, and is better off not running.

What do I say and some others..."We Believe!" We Believe that women can hold a position and be a new mother. We Believe that someone can unseat a long time incumbent that has some faults. We Believe a new message for Ward 2 can lead us in a better direction. We Believe reform is needed, particularly in the council. In short, we pledge her our support so others will believe in a new direction as well.

Anonymous

This is all good, really. But none of these comments change the fact that Fiona is going to lose. Baby or not, she is better off saving her time and money. The election is too soon to knock of Evans this time around. She should start planning now for 2016.

Anonymous, Too

"The election is too soon to knock of Evans this time around."

Who says? That was the same rationale, along with a lot of vicious bad mouthing, that the anonymous Fenty zealots posted about Vince Gray when he decided to run for mayor, six months before the 2010 dem primary.

And we all know how well that prediction worked for Fenty. (Maybe he's planning to share some of his strategy when he holds a fundraiser for Evans in October.)